After another loss by the Baltimore Ravens to the Pittsburgh Steelers, no Ravens fan would be criticized for tying one on big time. After ending their season way too soon, the Ravens head home for the rest of the winter and have until next September when and if there actually s a 2011 season to ponder the proverbial "what-if" after one more heartbreaking loss, this time 31-24 in the Divisional Playoffs.
Despite a beastly performance from Terrell Suggs, who was in Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's grill all night long, the Ravens offense could only muster 24 total yards in the second half after leading 21-7 at halftime. Three turnovers in the third quarter turned a two touchdown lead into a three-point deficit.
The Ravens managed to tie the game late in the fourth quarter after returning a punt for a touchdown by Lardarius Webb, but unfortunately, Marcus Smith was flagged for holding, negating the touchdown. Two straight running plays up the middle netted virtually nothing and a third down pass appeared to be catch-able by Anquan Boldin, but the ball hit the ground and the Ravens had to settle for a game-tying field goal.
However, the Steelers had more than enough time to move the ball downfield, which they did with the benefit of a long pass on third and nineteen. Just prior to the pass, I said out loud that Roethlisberger should just heave the ball downfield, as it could either be caught, cause a pass interference penalty or even if it were intercepted, it would be no worse than a punt. Perhaps had the Ravens secondary listened to me, they would have stayed back to defend the long ball but they did not and the Steelers were set up deep in Ravens territory. Rather than play for the field goal, Pittsburgh pressed onward and drove the ball into the end zone for the go ahead touchdown.
With around a minute left in the game, the time came for Ravens QB Joe Flacco to either prove he was a big game QB who could lead his team to a victory or fail in his effort and continue to have critics question his value. Four plays later, the Ravens turned the ball over on downs and the Steelers only needed to take a knee to end the Ravens season a lot earlier than anyone could have hoped.
Thus, here we are at the hangover stage, as many fans only escape from the pain of losing just one more time to their hated rivals was staring deeply into the bottom of an alcoholic beverage. Bloody Marys all around folks.
ENJOY WITH ABSOLUT RESPONSIBILITY®