PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – The players know it and the fans know it, there is just something different about a Ravens-Steelers game. But it doesn’t get any bigger than a playoff game between the rivals.
Over the last two seasons, each regular season game between the two teams have been decided by three points. Last season, the Ravens won in Baltimore, and the Steelers won in Pittsburgh. This season, the Ravens won in Pittsburgh, and the Steelers won in Baltimore.
“To me, it’s definitely the best rivalry in sports,” Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “It’s the most physical game of the year.”
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has figured out how to beat Baltimore, he is 8-2 against the Ravens, with both losses occurring in 2006. While Joe Flacco is 2-5 against the Steelers in his career.
When asked about Roethlisberger’s winning record against the Ravens, Suggs said, “I think he’s beaten us every time he’s been under center, that’s definitely my bigger problem.”
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Roethlisberger “is playing extremely well right now. He’s really into it. We haven’t probably put in a new pass play since he came back. You just dress them up, change them each week. As long as he knows what he’s doing and he’s comfortable, I couldn’t be more comfortable.”
He has a career-low five interceptions, 17 touchdowns and 3,200 passing yards with a 97.0 passer rating after missing the first four games of the season.
On the other side of the rivalry, the Ravens are hoping to finally win a playoff game at Heinz Field and have Flacco take another step towards matching the play of Roethlisberger.
This season Flacco threw for 3,6222 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He understands that the situation could have been different if it was for a single play in Week 13 when safety Troy Polamalu forced a fumble that led to a Steelers touchdown and the AFC North title.
“If the same situation comes up this game, I’m pretty sure we’re going to handle it, and we’re going to be disappointed if we don’t,” Flacco said. “Yeah, great play by him but, at the same time, it’s something we probably should have handled.”
Coach John Harbaugh hopes Flacco takes that mindset into Heinz Field on Saturday.