It’s time to make the Ravens go away. The Steelers have beaten them twice and now they’re coming back for more. Cue the old single by 80′s hairband extraordinaire, Ratt.
And you're back, you're back for more
You turn away, you're back for more
If it’s more they want then it’s more of the same they shall receive.
Welcome back to Heinz Field, Ray Ray, Flacco and the rest of the boys. Hope you all are feeling healthy after that clash in Tennessee last week. Really, we do. It’s been a great season for you guys. Honestly, it has. Now it’s snap-to time. Wake up! The slipper won’t fit, it never does when you visit the Steelers. You’ve exceeded expectations so far but the dream ends here.
Two games were played and one team won. That’s a trend. That’s momentum. Hell, that’s foreshadowing. Now it has come to this, a third game between divisional rivals. There’s nothing left to say, only the contest remains.
In Tennessee the Ravens came out on top against a tough opponent. That’s right, it wasn’t so much that they beat the Titans but they “came out on top.” The Titans moved the ball up and down the field but were victims of horrific turnovers. The Ravens basically had one better than average offensive play the entire game, but they converted it and ended up with a touchdown a short time later. The Titans had a running back with 75 yards at halftime, but Chris Johnson was injured early in the third quarter. Funny how that happens – running backs getting injured against the Ravens. Kerry Collins passed for almost 300 yards but had a pass intercepted on a deflection. The Ravens completed only 50% of their passes and rushed the ball for a total of 30 yards. Thirty yards! And to make matters worse, they were beneficiaries of extra time on the play clock during their winning field goal drive. So yeah, the Ravens came out on top.
The AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh will not be won by a team that only comes out on top. It will go to the team that beats down their opponent. And buddy, the Steelers know how to beat down an opponent. It’s more than just physical play. Both teams bring that to the game. And it’s more than the cheap shots, late hits and jumping on the pile that the Ravens bring. It’s about a defense that demoralizes an opponent, forcing punt after punt and forcing bad decisions by the opposing quarterback. It’s about shutting down the running game and terrorizing offensive tackles. It’s about a quarterback who refuses to lose, who keeps a play alive after it has apparently flat-lined only to bring it back to life 30 yards down field.
It’s about the better team winning in the end. It’s about respect for teammates and home field pride. It’s about satiating 63,899 screaming, towel-waving fans and it’s about earning a shot at one for the other thumb.