The stage was set. It was the 75th anniversary of the Steelers franchise and many of the heroes from the past were on hand to watch. On hand were Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Jerome Bettis, Jack Lambert, Mean Joe Green, Jack Ham, John Stallworth, Rocky Blier & more. Even Bill Cowher returned to Heinz Field to celebrate on a night when the hated Ravens came to town. The Steelers were 5-2 with the Ravens and Cleveland staying 1-step behind in the division.
The Steelers got the ball first and it Willie Parker’s first run was for 1-yard. The Ravens defense has always been tough against the run and I figured it was going to be a struggle for Parker. Ben hit Ward for a nice 15 yard pass play that resulted in a 1st down. The Ravens starting corners were inactive due to injuries so the passing game was going to be the key. During the 1st series it was raining so hard that I thought the game was being played in Florida. The Ravens defense held and the Steelers were 3 and out. I was really hoping that the Steelers would set the tone by driving down on their opening series and scoring a touchdown.
The Steelers punt the ball away and it sails into the endzone for a touchback. Steve McNair and the Ravens start from the 20 yard line. The Ravens try and establish a running game by running W.McGahee and L.McClain on 1st and 2nd downs for a total of 4 yards. The Ravens are able to get a 1st down with a pass from Mcnair to Q.Sypniewski. The Ravens have a fresh set of downs and on 1st down Mcnair throws and incomplete pass to D.Mason. On 2nd down W.McGahee is stopped for a -3 loss by T.Polamalu.
It’s now 3rd and 13 and something is about to happen that will set the tone for the rest of the game. McNair takes the snap in the shotgun and the the guy who replaced Joey Porter, James Harrison forces McNair to fumble the ball that is also recovered by James Harrison. I have to admit that I am big fan of Joey Porter and I was afraid that losing him meant that the Steelers would lose some of the nastiness and toughness that we have come to expect. Millions of football fans were about to witness the coming out party for James Harrison who would terrorize the Ravens offense all night long.
Points on turnovers are huge and the Steelers had to score here. They had the ball on the Ravens 20 yard line and the rain had subsided. Once again the Ravens D was stout and the Steelers were forced into a 3rd down situation. My guess that the Steelers would attempt a short pass to pick up the 3 yards needed for a 1st down. Ben took the snap under center and dropped back to pass. The Ravens pass rush was coming and Ben threw the ball to Heath Miller in the endzone for a touchdown! Ben got hit after he threw the pass and T.Suggs was called for roughing the passer. That’s what I am talking about. Going for touchdowns and not field goals in the red zone! Steelers 7 Ravens 0.
The Ravens get the ball and the Steelers Defense forces them to 3 and out. The Steelers get the ball back and I am fully expecting them to march down the field and score again. The Steelers are forced into a 3rd and 2 and Ben throws an incomplete pass to Nate Washington. I thought the Steelers should have taken advantage of the wet field and run Davenport up the gut on 3rd down. UFABET
The Steelers punt the ball and their are offsetting penalties which meant a replay of 4th down. Sepulveda punts the ball to the dangerous Ed Reed who fields the ball at the Ravens 32 yard line. Ed Reed starts his return and runs into a mack truck in the form of James Harrison. James Harrison basically grabs Reed in the air and body slams him onto the turf and in the process the ball pops out and is scooped up by the Steeler’s Timmons who returns the fumble to the Ravens 28. ESPN replayed the body slam by Harrison several times on TV and it was a thing of beauty. At this point, James Harrison had 2 forced fumbles,1 fumble recovery, 1 sack, and national name recognition. Harrison was playing like a cage beast that had been tasered and let loose on the Ravens!
James Harrsion set the Steelers up nicely with his forced fumble and they had to score some points. 4 plays later Ben had the Steelers in 1st and 10 at the Ravens 18 with 2:30 left in the 1st quarter. Big Ben then hits Santonio Holmes for a 15 yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0 game.
The present day Steelers were putting on a nice show for the Monday Night Football audience and making Bradshaw and the rest of the former players proud on this historic night. The 1st quarter ends with the Steelers winning 14-0.
The 2nd quarter proves to be as exciting as the 1st with 3 Ben Roethlisberger touchdown passes. The 1st was a 30 yard pass play to Nate Washington, the 2nd was a 35 yarder to Santonio Holmes, & the 3rd was a 7 yard pass play to Nate Washington. The Ravens were able to get on the scoreboard with a 33 yard McGahee TD run. James Harrison continues his one man wrecking crew when he intercepts McNair on a pass intended for Williams.
The 1st half ended with the Steelers winning 35-7. Big Ben became only the 3rd Steeler player in NFL history to have thrown 5 touchdown in a game. The other players to have thrown 5 td passes in a single game were Terry Bradshaw and Mark Malone. Big Ben looked impressive during the first half with accurate passes and great scrambling away from the pass rush. The running game was not there and Ben picked up the slack and carried the offense on his arm. The defense was playing as expected except for the Monster play of James Harrison.
The 2nd half was not nearly as exciting as the 1st but the Steelers were up by 28 points and the Ravens could not get things started. The Steelers were able to pad their stats in the 3rd quarter with a 22 yard field goal by Jeff Reed. The 3rd quarter also saw Big Ben get hurt on a 3rd and 7 play when he rolled out and was hit after hitting Santonio Holmes for a 45 yard pass play. Ben was down for a few minutes and he looked to be in some pain when he walked to the sideline. It was later determined that he suffered a hip pointer injury when he hit the turf hard. James Harrsion also padded his incredible stats by registering another sack on McNair. The Ravens could not put any points on the board in the 3rd quarter.
Ben came back in the 4th quarter but he did not see much action. Charlie Batch replaced Ben and he was intercepted by Ed Reed. You can’t blame Batch because the poor guy has not seen any playing time in ages. The Raven eventually replace McNair with Boller who could not move the ball either. The Steelers win big by a score of 38-7!