If anyone is looking for the definition of a perfect football game, look no further than what we saw on the 10th anniversary of September 11th between the Ravens and Steelers. We all know what this game meant to this team and great fans who populate the city we love. Not going to be able to cover every point of this game, but will leave that to the rest of you to do so.
Fullback: After seeing how Pittsburgh reacted today, it is clear to me that players in this league are scared of Leach. Players literally folded up on the ground instead of trying to take on his block. Pairing this bulldozer with our zone blocking scheme could equal a 1,500+ yard season for Ray Rice.
Wide Receivers: This was the group that didn't flash, but did what was needed. Boldin held true to being the #1 guy on this team. Even though Lee Evans did not have a catch today, any knowledgeable football fan would notice how Troy just could not leave him alone all game long. We were missing 2 guys in Doss and Reed who our coaches are counting on alot today. For a team with only 4 active WR going against your arch rival, you have to be satisfied with the results.
Tight Ends: Man, you just have to give it up to these guys. Todd Heap was by far the roster cut which worried Ravens fans the most. How would we ever be able to replace the sure handed Heap? Introducing Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta. Both came up with huge plays today, Dickson having 5 catches for 59 yards and a game sealing TD and Pitta having 2 catches cor 45 yards and a big time gain in a scoring drive. To have both these 2nd year guys come out and give us 7 catches for 104 yards and 1 TD, hats off to those guys. We have alot to look forward to with these two guys.
Offensive Line: If I am giving a game ball to anyone besides Cam Cameron, it would be this group. This was maybe the single best offensive line performance we have seen in the Harbaugh/Flacco era, and it came after weeks and weeks of concern about how this group would perform. McKinnie (the biggest concern) literally made Harrison disappear. Grubbs opened up huge lanes for Rice. Birk was alert. Yanda is from Iowa. And Oher is the best RT in the game. The O-Line that was supposed to be the reason for why our team would falter just held the Pittsburgh Steelers to ONE sack. Deal with that haters.
Defensive Line: When talking about this group today, you start off with Haloti Ngata. What can possibly be said about this man? He is unblockable, tossed Pouncey and Legursky around all game long, and laid one of the biggest hits the league will see this year on Mendenforced hall. You have to feel bad for Rashard....wait no you don't. Sucks for you. The rest of the group went unnoticed, which is basically a good thing. Guys like McPhee and Redding were upfield on tackles, and all you ask for from this group is hustle. We got that today.
Quarterback: This league starts and stops with the QB, and Joe was the man in this game. From the start of the game when he hit Boldin on one of his most beautiful pass ever to his flick of the wrist PA pass to Dickson. Joe was in control all day long, never had a turnover and never had that "deer in the headlights" look that we are used to seeing, especially against the dreaded Steelers defense.
Runningback: Since when do teams rush for 170 yards on the Steelers? Particularly, when do you see 100 yard rushers against that defense? They were the best run defense in the NFL last year, and 2nd place wasn't even close. Ray Rice was an absolute monster today and the most dangerous player for the Ravens offense not named Joe Flacco. Rice was responsible for 149 of Baltimore's 385 total yards. Ricky was not to shabby himself, coming up with some huge runs and totaling 63 yards on 12 carries. Willis who?
Linebackers: First off, forget Harrison and Woodley, Terrell Suggs is the best OLB in this division. He absolutely destroys Pittsburgh each game, and owns Big Ben's ass. Suggs is already off to an insane start with 3 sacks. The rest of the group was amazing as well, Ray with his interception and forced fumble. McClain made some nice plays. And of course, Jarrett Johnson smacked WR Hines Ward.
Secondary: Who won DPOY last year? I seem to forget after seeing what I saw today from Ed Reed. Ben had no answer for Reed's smarts and awareness. What needs to be said about his performance today, nothing new. Move along. Losing Jimmy Smith seemed like it would hurt us, but man that group didn't lose a step. Cary Williams made huge pass break ups, Webb was a coverage and tackling machine. Don't let Ben's 280 passing yards worry you, most of those yards came when we were playing 15 yards off and just trying to get the game over with.
Special Teams: Cundiff, the usual robot leg. But Koch, gotta love this guy. We have seen that play in the past, and in my opinion, it took the air out of Pitstburgh. The Steelers also have some dangerous return guys, and they were bottled up for the most part. Great job by Jerry Rosburg and crew.
Coaching: As stated above, Cam Cameron gets my game ball here. Pagano and his scheme was amazing, but man, Cam never let his foot off the gas in this game. He continued to mix up passes with runs even when the run was working. We took shots downfield when it was there and took shots underneath when it was there. As for Harbaugh, he led a disciplined team and never let Tomlin take control.
Ozzie Newsome: Many doubted you with some of your decisions made earlier this summer, but we all now see why you do what you do. You are simply the best at your job in this league and we cannot be more satisfied with the team you have given us. In Ozzie We Trust.
Hats off to Pittsburgh and their team. It might not have showed today, but us Ravens fans know what kind of team you are. We are the team we are today because of that organization and it was a win that was much needed. I am sure it will be a battle come week 9, but we will be ready.
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