PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With two of the best defenses in the NFL, this afternoon’s second-round playoff game between the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens is expected to be a hard-fought battle.
When there are games between teams this evenly matched, all it takes is one signature play that can make all the difference.
Both teams have made those kinds of plays, and which ever team makes the most at Heinz Field today will most likely advance to the conference finals.
In the first meeting of the season between the teams, it was a last-second game winning touchdown strike from Joe Flacco to T.J. Houshmenzedeh from 22 yards that was the signature moment.
In the rematch in Baltimore, it was Troy Polamalu with the signature moment that turned the game around and led to the game-winning score for the Steelers.
That score was a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Isaac Redman, who then fought his way into the end zone.
However, the biggest play of that drive – that made it all possible – might be one of the best incompletions in Steelers history. It was Roethlisberger about to be sacked by Terrell Suggs when the quarterback shook the Raven and preserved valuable yardage.
“I think one of the best plays he made all year was shaking Suggs off in the game down there and throwing the ball away left-handed,” said Bruce Arians, the Steelers offensive coordinator. “That’s the type of play he can make; but just his consistency, his accuracy. He worked extremely hard when he was off on his accuracy. He changed his motion a little bit and it’s paid off for him all season.”
But back to that play, the Steelers were down by four and could not settle for a field goal, and that saved yardage made the touchdown pass that followed possible.
This time around though, the Steelers would rather avoid any last-second outcomes. That prompted Steelers linebacker James Farrior to use Twitter to reach out to the fan base.
“I sent a mass Tweet out to my Steeler Nation fans [Thursday], and told them they need to stay as loud as possible. I want my eardrums to pop,” said Farrior. “I don’t want to be able to hear anything; I want my ears to be sore after the game.”
This game is as evenly-matched as any on the board this weekend of playoff games. In their last 17 meetings, the Steelers have won nine and Baltimore eight; but interestingly, in those 17 games, each team has scored 302 points exactly.
So, be prepared for what should be another classic in this AFC North rivalry showdown.