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January 18, 2009

Ravens come up empty

Before everybody starts talking about what a great season it was in spite of tonight's loss, I'm going to wallow in it for a minute. Cam Cameron's offense did very little and the defense had very little margin for error, yet it still may have come down to one very stupid personal foul that deprived them of a chance for a short drive and a lead-changing field goal in the waning minutes of the game.

Don't think that's much consolation for the Ravens fans who were dreaming about Tampa when the Ravens appeared to get the ball back at their 40-yard line after the second Willis McGahee touchdown.

Joe Flacco (and the rest of the team, for that matter) exceeded all expectations this year, but he's still got some growing to do, no matter how cool he looked for a rookie. The guy he has often been compared to, Ben Roethlisberger, showed how much experience counts.

The Ravens also need to come up with a big-play receiver by next season. Mark Clayton made some big plays this year, but all you had to do was watch Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald in the earlier game to see how one guy can make a huge difference. That's an extreme example, of course, since he and Cardinals QB Kurt Warner are borderline unconscious right now, but you've got to have someone to go up and get the ball when Flacco throws the ball up for grabs down-field.

That has to be a priority this offseason if the Ravens are going to build on their surprising 2008-09 performance.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 10:23 PM | | Comments (166)
Categories: Just football


well the blackbirds had a helluva year and hopefully will build on it for next year, but in the meantime, GO YOU ARIZONA CARDINALS GO!! (altho I hate to see a Bidwell team win a title)

I'm sad that the Ravens couldn't pull out a win tonite, but I think that we'll be okay going forward.

Joe Flacco is the best thing to happen to Baltimore since Bert Jones.

Am I right or wrong Pete?

Peter's reply: Yes, you are.

The truly sad news is that we now can only look forward to the O's........(sigh).

congratulations to the steelers. they were the better team all year. the personal foul was retarded but not sure it would have mattered. it pains me to see the ravens season end but they can hold their heads high. I AM PROUD OF MY RAVENS. THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT.

The sad thing is Pete. Mr. Stone will be out of a job for that. They were so far out of bounds it wasn't evern funny. The Heap catch didn't even get em near where they would have been. Then Flacco doesn;t need to force even if we have to punt. Bad move. he will not be a Raven next year. Thin line.

Are YINZ guys finally convinced??????

That personal foul penalty was inexcusable.

I've always been hesitant to pin the outcome of a game on one play, but that penalty was huge. The momentum swing was palpable.

When the game went to a commercial and the ball was at the 40, I really thought they were going to win. But when it came back from the commercial and the ball was at the 14, I KNEW they were going to lose.

Why don't you go up to Pittsburgh next weekend, hangout... and down a couple of those Primanti Brothers sandwiches.

Cassius Clay is your name. all I have to look forward is Maryland's march towards 12th in the ACC before Orioles baseball completely sucks out my will to live. This sucks...

As usual, some good words, Pete.

Before the game began my friends and I toasted the simple fact of being in the AFC title game.

And yes, that foul was mind-bogglingly stupid and yes, it cost us the game.

Great game by Ravens defense. I'm a Steeler fan but i recognize the effort the Ravens put forth.

Allow me to add my "two cents". As the season progressed, Cameron's game planning and play calling....regressed! Never more evident than today. But, you're right when you comment that the Ravens lack playmakers on offense. Hopefully, that will be addressed in the off season. The knucklehead who committed the flagrant personal fould you refer to should be summarily cut. And, finally, if the hit on McGahgee wasn't a flagrant "helmet to helmet" hit, then that rule nust no longer exist!

Peter's reply: There is no helmet-to-helmet rule doesn't apply to open-field tackles not involving the QB.

Cameron lost this game for the Ravens - way too conservative, how do you NOT let a rookie get into a rhythm? Too many big pass plays that didn't pay off and then running McGahee up the middle against the Steelers. Cameron you SUCK!

Peter, since I am no longer taking part in Mr. Prestons pitiful blogs for personal reasons, I will gladly offer my heart felt opinion on your wonderful space. First of all, as a die-hard Ravens fan who was born, raised and resides in the Pittsburgh area, I am tremendously hurt by this defeat. I love the Ravens and ride or die with them. As usual there were some pretty lame calls on the field such as the roughing the punter call, and no offensive pass interference call on Pittsburgh's receiver when Frank Walker's dropped interception in the endzone. Yes, the undisciplined penalty on Darren Stone was a tough one to digest as well, but the worst part of the game to me was the obvious helmet to helmet hit on Willis! Not only was that a personal foul, but Willis, in my opinion hit the ground before losing the ball, but that is perhaps the most irrelevant aspect of that sequence. One more thing I couldn't tolerate was the PA system here in Terrible Towel Town blasting music while McGahee lie on the field being attended to by medical staff? I can't stand the Steelers or their fans and tonight's loss has nothing to do with it, just goes with the territory. Thanks for a great season Ravens, I love all of you through the wins, losses, great efforts and mistakes, so don't worry about nothing Darren Stone. Finally, my prayers to Willis; get healthy brother, and thanks for the effort. Peace!

I have been saying all year they need receivers. I thought the Steelers would win, and it would come down to which offense would play better. Sure looked like they might pull it out, but another dumb penalty, and the usual meltdown at the end. I really thought Flacco played awful!

Daren Stone can start looking NOW for a new employer for next season.

As ineffective as our offense was tonight, I AGREE, that personal foul may have been the difference in this ballgame........HOW STUPID!!!

I agree 100%. The personal foul was as bonehead as it gets. A big-play receiver is an absolute must. But it was GREAT season.

Pete, did the announcers on CBS seem biased towards Pittsburgh? It may be me being really picky, but it seemed obvious to me.

Peter's reply: Not to me.

The offensive line had a tough time against the Steelers and with marginal receivers the Ravens just never seemed to be in the game, even though the scored showed otherwise.
Obviously the Steelers had the top defense in the league and pretty much controlled the Ravens in all 3 games.
Next year Flacco will be more experienced and hopefully the Ravens can improve the receivers and solidify the offensive line. They also need to figure out their RB situation.
The bigger problem will be who they can afford on defense and adding another CB since Rolle is getting old and injured/sick too often.
As a whole I sure would give them an "A" this season. I would have been happy with 7-9.
People here in AZ are in shock with the Cardinals. I'd expect the Steelers to clean up on them in the Super Bowl.

Yep, I agree, Pete. We definitely need a big-time receiver. Mason is great, and Clayton has his moments, but they're both on the small-ish side for WRs. We need a big, fast WR. That should be the focus of the draft (or maybe acquire Boldin through a trade). We also have to revamp the secondary. Our CBs are absolutely the weak link of the defense.

That said -- it was a great season, and I think Flacco will only get better. I'm looking forward to next year!


Well I think the raiding of our coaching staff is going to start tomorrow with Rex first. Our success this year is in a large part to our staff. Of course it will be nice to get a big play receiver somehow I think we will not get a instant answer there.

We have to RETAIN Jason Brown and at least two of the three LB's. Hopefully without resorting to the franchise tag.

I had this team at 7-9 back in July when my season tickets arrived. They have exceeded expectations. Now however they will have to live up to expectations and that is a bit harder I think to do.

Hi Pete. Can you explain that personal foul for me? I don't understand how we lost nearly 30 yards. Before the commercial break, we were at the 40 yard line. We come back, see a Squealer get tossed around out of bounds, and all of a sudden we're at the 10 yard line. I missed something -- what was it?

Peter's reply: PF is marked from the start of the runback.

what about the lame playcalling in the first half on 3rd and then 4th and 1? That was pivital. You've got McLain, Rice and McGahee and you call a QB sneak with at least a yard to go? A first down there could have changed the whole tenor of the game. That one has to be on Cam.

You're right. Dumb personal foul changes that drive. I know the expectations are already high for next year, but what could have been- even when we were completely outplayed tonight- has me preoccupied. At some point you've gotta seize the moment. It will be a long road back to the AFC Championship. Let's hope it comes sooner rather than later. Let's go O's?

Hey Pete,

It was an amazing year you have to be real proud of what they did and I cannot wait until next year. The Ravens played with a lot of heart when you can see guys that were hurting bad giving what they had left in their tanks. Thank you Ravens for giving a first class effort!

That A** Stone should be fined a million dollars for the most BONEHEADED play of the year. What a moron!

Daren Stone should be kicked square in the balls for his stupid penalty on special teams. He cost us critical field position in a critical part of the game.

Pete, we lost 3 agonizing games to the Steelers this year. We need more than that. It's apparent the Steelers have become the re-incarnation of the Colts, a team we can't seem to beat. That penalty was an absolute killer

Prediction: the Ravens take a step back next season. Rex Ryan will be gone and the defense won't be as good. The offense will have to chip in more, but it's going to take Harbaugh years to undo Billick's mess.

2008 Ravens = 1989 Orioles. Fluke!

I hate to say this, but you have to give the Steelers some credit; they are a helluva team. Before evaluating our offense's performance, you could at least acknowledge that the Steelers have the # 1 defense in the league.

It's been a long season, and our guys are pretty beat up and worn down by now. My hat's off to Willis McGahee who played a tough game and got two TDs.

The defense also played well overall, but their tackling has gotten sloppy as of late. Our receivers weren't getting open too much, so it ain't all Flacco's fault. If we could've taken back a few misguided plays late in the game, we might have eked out a victory.

Overall it's been a great season and I look forward to September.

Peter's reply: I agree. The Steelers are the best team in the NFL.

Stone better be fired because he will never be welcomed by fans in our stadium. He should have been cut by Harbaugh in the locker room.

I hope everybody who thought Willis was selfish for saying his year disappointed him -- and blowing it up into a controversy -- is saying some prayers or, at the least, sending him good thoughts, now. That said, why didn't they use Ray Rice more ... unless he really wasn't recovered as he said he was.

Steeler fan here. The Steelers-Ravens rivalry was great this year, and although we got the 3 wins the Ravens should hold their heads high. It's tough going far with rookie QB. Ben was HORRIBLE in the AFC championship game as a rookie. Look forward to a great home and away (and maybe a third game again) next year.

The problems with the Ravens today.

Jon Harbaugh: Called way too many challenges and timeouts at unneccessary times. They could've been a lot more useful.

Joe Flacco: We gave him too much confidence. That INT that Polimalu caught, who exactly was he passing to? That was dumb pass and choked way too hard

Todd Heap: You should've spent less time doing M&T Bank commericals and more time on the game. Very seldom did I see you actually catch a ball this season (even when it was easy). My 80 year old grandmother could've done better than that.

Ed Reed: I wore your jersey today in hope that there would be another INT returned for TD. But I think Pittsburgh offense was smart enough (for their good) not to give the ball near you.

However, I was glad to see Hines Ward get hurt. That's the only reason I'm not completely angry tonight.

My guess is that Daren Stone is one of the first players released in the coming weeks. Bit players have less margin of error than regulars--especially when they commit flagrant personal fouls (trust me, I know this from personal experience).

What I don't understand was how this became a 25 yard penalty. Either way, bonehead plays like this one lose games.

Anyway, the Ravens played above expectations, which was great for this region. On the other hand, as you point out, they showed glaring absences at several positions, including a downfield receiver and a dependable 5th defensive back.

The former can be answered in the draft or through free-agency. The obvious answer is to do everything possible to get T. J. Houshmanzadah, just as it is obvious to stay away from T. O. The latter may answer itself as Nakamura and Zbikowski mature into solid NFL players--and the hope of a full return of Chris McCalister (or his value as trade bait).

Another obvious question is the football future of Kyle Boller. It is almost a foregone conclusion that his days as a Raven are numbered--but does the team simply let him walk away, or try the sign-and-trade route.

The development of Troy Smith also must be addressed. Yes, he may become a starting QB in the NFL, but maybe he would be better used in a broader role. If this is the case, who would the Ravens sign as the backup to Flacco.

Hmm. I guess we won't hear any calls to bring back Derek Anderson.

What about the missed call by the refs on the kick-off--never went out but the refs blew the whistle.
This type of play, as rare as it is, should be something looked at by the rules committe in the off-season. The ravens recovered and prob. would have got 3 pts. there. Oh well, one of many errors by refs and the Ravens that ended the season for them.

Pete—You’ve hit it right. I found it curious in watching ESPN’s recap that they skipped Daren Stone’s moronic personal foul that cost the Ravens good field position in their drive with 6 minutes left and down, 16-14. Being pushed back to the 14 yard line to start that drive was a mess. This was not Laura Nyro’s “Stone Soul Picnic.”

The point: Baltimore was in prime position to drive to either a go-ahead field goal by Matt Stover to make it 17-16 or a TD to make it 21-16.

Also, Frank Walker’s inability to intercept the ball in the end zone clearly was the result of offensive interference, not called. Instead of being pushed back there, the Steelers were able to get a 47-yard field goal.

It was tough watching how many times the Ravens failed to stop the Steelers on third and long situations. It makes you wish that a mix into a non-blitzing defense could have gotten that done sometimes.

Let’s give a big hand to Terrell Suggs for his grit in playing today and playing so well. Willis McGahee was superb all day picking up the blitzes and blocking so well.

It caught me by surprise, though, that the All-Pro LeRon McClain was not a part of the offense. Why not give him some handoffs? Why not let him be the man to get the first down on two plays that failed after being third and one?

And why don’t we pass the ball to Daniel Wilcox? He has wonderful hands.

I’m proud of the Ravens. John Harbaugh was outstanding this season. Cam Cameron did a wonderful job with the offense. Rex Ryan deserves the head coaching job with the Jets.

Can’t wait to get Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason, Joe Flacco and all the guys back next season. Don’t think the Athlon and Sporting News Annuals will have the Purple Birds in last place in their preseason picks next year like they did this year.

I hope they make #39 Stone walk home. That was a complete momentum changer when Pissburgh was knocked back on their heels.

Actually, you can have a helmet-to-helmet in the open field involving the receiver

The debate would be over whether or not Maghee concentration was still on the ball when he was hit.

Congrats to Frank Walker for collecting the bounty on Hines Ward.

"I was glad to see Hines Ward get hurt."

from a ravens fan... some of you are really low class...

I don't get all the criticism of the DB play. Any team that loses three of their top for corners (Mac, Rolle, and Walker) is going to be hard pressed to compete. Obviously they need a deep threat at WR, that's been the case for ten years, and improved O-line play. Another year for the rookie LT and QB will go a long way. Compared to the outlook when the season began tweaking a few things seems much better in comparison.

Atleast someone at the sun has the ability to see the truth without looking through pressured jaded glasses.Theres a reason why Troy Smith won the starting job......Flacco nothing special.....less than average accuracy....supposed to have big arm but ususally overthrows or underthrows..[see tapes not hype]...stares down receivers as much as Kyle Boller..... almost got Mcgahee all want to criticize Mcgahee, but Flacco can do no wrong...he's already been deemed franchise quarterback of the future because that's what you all want to believe and because Ozzie Newsome Selected him 18' th and paid him 35 millon.... I got news for you aint gonna happen,...and being a rookie has nothing to do with it [see Matt Ryan]...either you have the ability to be instinctive and complete passes without stareing down receivers or you dont...and he does'nt, and that will not change next year, the year after or in 10 years...the offensive line was increible this year unexpectedly...hats off to them.... great job coach Matsko....The Ravens made it to the AFC championship game on the strength of the leagues best defense....a defense that is in a leauge of their own because they still have to overcome their own offensive deficiences....and have almost no margin of error 8 years of incredable pressure has formed a beautiful diamond....Cameron was a big improvement but his inability to create an offense that's not stiff and can call plays that dont require you to burn all your timeouts because they cant get the play off in time is lacking.......why did he refuse to allow Rice and Mcgahee to get the ball in space? .....instead he let Mcgahee take a vicious beating unnecessarily for no gain and no reason at all....bottom line I said Selecting Flacoo instead of Mckelvin ,Cromartie or Jenkins was a mistake...they could have gotten Colt Brennan a much better more ready quarterback for alot less money..... or Kevin O connel, Chad Henne, Brian Brohm or Dennis Dixon...there were alot of options ....there was no need to do what Newsome did....and it once again wasted an opportunity to solidify the weakness at corner and another incredible defensive effort .....congratulations to the Ravens deserve so much better ...there is no doubt that you are and have been the leagues best for the last 8 years and the greatest perennial defense in the history of the NFL ...thank you for a great season....Suggs you'r a warrior.

Are YINZ guys finally convinced??????

I'm very very upset about our lack of offense tonight, but the season turned out better than I thought it would. Kudos to the coaching staff.

However, Flacco has a lot of growing up to do. Tonight he almost resembled Boller in that he was slow and made horribly bad decisions.

I know a lot of Ravens fans will disagree, but I hope we get rid of Todd Heap. He's a non-factor. He's also soft and has butterfingers.

Suggs also played out of his mind tonight. So a big high five for him.

Thanks for the blog all season Pete. You're the only writer for this newspaper with a brain.

Since I've disowned the O's as a baseball team (until Angelos sells them), I guess I've only got hockey left.

Go Caps.

That personal foul was critical. Overall, I blame this loss on Harbaugh. It boiled down to poor game planning and execution. There's no way Brian Billick would've lost three games against Pittsburgh.

the ravens have nothing to hang there heads for they made it to the final four stone was probally stoned on the stupid PF the ravens need to make sure they keep the big 3 on defence and draft percy harvin out of florida if they want to become a definate superbowl contender next season they get an A for the year. do you think they should go after TJ will they have the cap space?

Hey Pete if you are going to come down hard on the Ravens for losing, I hope you do the same the Orioles this year, 90+ times.

OK, Pete... The Steelers were the better team and they won. That I will admit.

Now, can we discuss the two helmet-to-helmet shots that will likely warrant fines but drew no flags? Can we also mention the phantom roughing the kicker call? That one almost made me pull a George W. Bush - I nearly choked on a pretzel!

Stone's personal foul was definitely the killshot, though. Like someone mentioned earlier, when we had it at the 40 going to commercial I was sure we'd make it happen. When we came back and had it deep in our end I know the tide had shifted yet again.

Ravens should be proud. They're tough. But I don't want to hear about the personal foul being a big call... How about the two pass interference calls that gave you the ball on the goal line? That first call was terrible... the official was throwing the flag before there was any contact! The better team won; that was clear.

Peter's reply: Yes, the better team won, but both PI's were obvious and the Steelers got away with a flagrant Offensive PI on the near Frank Walker interception -- worth three points.

That idiot Stone needs to be tied up in the middle of Ravens Stadium for every Raven's fan to take a turn at spitting on him. He costed us the Super Bowl!!!!

I know that My Ravens exceeded everyone's expectations and had a strong run into the playoffs during eighteen straight weeks without a break, but it is going to take some time for all of that to sink in. The reason I'm taking this loss very hard is simple - Baltimore teams still haven't been able to defeat its Pittsburgh counterparts in the postseason in ANY sport. The Orioles lost the World Series to the Pirates in '71 & '79, and the Steelers eliminated first the Colts in '75 & '76, then the Ravens in 2001 & last night.

Do I hate the city of Pittsburgh? Damn right I do! It's a good thing that my hand wasn't over the red button. I definitely would've nuked that city to the ground - guaranteed!

I am also convinced that Maryland-based Steelers fans are hubris-filled, cementheaded quislings.

Having gotten that off my chest, the Ravens obviously need to improve its receiving corps. Don't be surprised if Mark Clayton & Todd Heap have played their last games for the Purple & Black. Kyle Boller is a goner. So is Chris McAlister & Daren Stone. What's going to happen to Kelly Gregg? The offseason, unfortunately, has begun prematurely.

Take comfort Ravens fans; at least you're not the Oakland Raiders.

We in Oakland wish we could "suffer".

You, (Ravens) didn't lose; Pittsburgh won.

Congrats to the Steelers on a hard win. And also to the Ravens for a great season ! They gave it all they had left, but it just wasn't quite enough. I guess the sports media was right - the Ravens looked tired and dinged and a little slow on both sides of the ball. Thanks for a very entertaining season.

I would just like to say that to the idiot who left the comment about Ward getting hurt, you do realize that your guy got hurt worse than Ward and nobody thought that was a good thing. You are just a sad, sore loser who is bitter that the better team one. Oh yeah and by the way thank Flacco for passing the ball to us so many times to give us the win. GO STEELERS!!!!

The game is over and done. From this Steeler fan I pray and hope that McGee's injury ends up being not very serious - a pinched nerve or something that he can quickly recover from and not have any lingering issues.

Well Fans you got what you were wishing for...a chance to come in and punch the Steelers in the mouth, to push them all over Heinz Field. Well, what you ended up getting was a glimpse of what it takes to be a champion, a team the was not intimidated, but one that was eager for the challenge and ready to land some blows of their own. The Steelers stepped up to the challange and beat the Raven's at their own game. The defense was stiffling turning up the heat on the offense of the Ravens. Ed Reed is one of the best safeties in the league, but he was overshadowed by Troy Polomalu...there's more to playing safety than just INT's, you gotta make some tackles. Congrats on a great season. You have a lot to look forward to. Flacco appears to be the QB you've been searching for. He's got a lot of the tools that Ben brings to the game. We appreciate the effort your team brought to the game and the passion of your fans...See you next year. P.S Get well Willis you played a great game..

Hey Baltimore, you played one heck of a game and have nothing to hang your heads over you have apromising young qb and alot to build on, The rivalry is always exciting but all hopes are that Maghee is up and around and fit in no time. Yes the personal foul was not necessary but I think was more of frustration and hey I am not a patsy kinda physical statement that got the better of him. I look forward to seeing you guys next year. We may have Primanti Bros but you have the corner on crab cakes!
And if you feel like blaming least you didn't have the Lions season!

Without blunders (Holmes and Sweed dropping balls), the Steelers would have scored 11 points more, highlighting defensive breakdowns in coverage. It could have been 24-0 early. Passes to Ward and Holmes, which resulted in 10 points, didn't look complimentary to the defense either. Give the offense credit for making it an exciting game for more than 3-1/2 quarters.

"Why don't you go up to Pittsburgh next weekend, hangout... and down a couple of those Primanti Brothers sandwiches"

Actually, the main thing I took away from the journalistic "dust-up" over the Primanti Bros sandwhiches was how good they looked on the video. I may go up to Pittsburgh later this year to watch Ovechkin and the Caps kick the crap out of the Penguins on their way to the Stanley Cup. A corned beef or pastrami grilled with some provolone and piled with cole slaw (hold the fries) on good italian bread sounds good.

Are you finally convinced Schmuck? The Ravens D is very good but very good does not get you to the big show. The Steeler's D is great. Flacco will improve but he needs more than the aging Mason and Heap to throw to. Give it a few years and maybe they will be able to compete.

It was a great season. We can talk about individual plays, but clearly this wasn't our year; however it may have been an appropriate prelude to next year, which could be our year. Fate has often been kind to Division Championship runner-ups the following year. One thing is for sure - come camp, the Ravens will be preparing for the 2009 NFL season thinking of themselves as Super Bowl contenders, something they could not have done last year.

I truly believe we finished the 2008 season as the second best team in the NFL. That's progress, and we made a lot of that this season. Let us temper the sadness and pain from today's loss with hope for next year.

Peter, thank you for your wonderful coverage of our beloved Ravens this season.

I'm a die-hard Steelers fan and I can't tell you how much I was hoping that they would beat the Ravens tonight. That being said, Willis McGahee's injury was a sobering way to end the game. I was not cheering very loudly when the final gun sounded. I truly hope he's okay.

But, when I read that people are happy that Hines Ward got hurt it makes me think that karma might really exist. The Ravens fans that are happy about their opponents getting injured are classless jerks and don't deserve a chance to watch their team in the Super Bowl. Have fun watching Steelers highlights for the nest two weeks. I will.

Pete's reply: You know, when you're talking about thousands of people of all ages who post on the various blogs, you're going to have a couple people say stupid things. I don't think any true sports fan wants to see athlete's get hurt.

Wooo! So glad that one is in the books. Usually I don't gloat over wins, but this one was SWEET! I just wanted to add that you Bodymore residents don't seem to understand us up in the civilized north. We really never cared about your team until this year. The rivalry was always with the players only, since we fans have always appreciated going after Cleveland much more. You know, the city you guys ripped off, after moaning and whining when your precious Colts left town. But after I had to live in your wretched cesspool of a town and be subjected to constant abuse from disgusting Ravens fans for 2 years, I've learned to truly despise your team. So this win was all the more beautiful. Oh yeah, and that hit was PERFECTLY LEGAL! so stop your whining, it's payback for all your hatred and talk of "bounties." And remember, every time a Raven gets hurt an angel gets its wings. GO STEELERS!

As for me, l think the Ravens should just draft the best player available. How about a Bubba Smith type DE who can actually get to a QB and go back to a 4-3 and not have to blitz LB's! A tight end who can actually CATCH the ball would be a great plus!!

Ravens were lucky to score tonight.
Champions find a way to win & Pittsburgh has the look of a champion.
The Ravens will have that look soon enough..Just not this year.

And why wasn't Ray Rice used more? And where was Wilcox? At least he can CATCH a football!!

Hey, ravens were lucky to be in the game. Game should've been over in 1st quarter and a half. You were very lucky, even so, you lost. Steelers were much better than score indicated!

Your name is Toby.

For all the smack you talk in're city sucks and now...well, your team sucks. Have fun watching the Steelers in the Superbowl.

Pete's reply: Stay classy, Steelerroast.

Did Boller suit up as Flacco today, or is Flacco just that bad? The praise for Flacco was ridiculous and came way too quickly. Should be an open QB competition in training camp again next year.

about having Hines Ward get hurt. Admit it, Hines Ward is probably one of the dirtiest and most arrogant players in the league right now, especially against us (which is probably why, die-hard Ravens fans hate him so much). At the Indy game, he grabbed a facemask, got flagged, and laughed in the guys face. Not cool, not sportsmanlike, even TO doesn't pull crap like that. As terrible as it might sound, having Ward get hurt is probably why we didn't lose worse.

I'm a Ravens fan but I want to see Arizona win the Super Bowl. It's not because I hate Pittsburgh, but it's only because the Cardinals have been around about as long as the Steelers, and never went to a Super Bowl, so a win would be the whole package. Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald just prove that Arizona is not the joke team they were before and having those two on the field will certainly make an Arizona win attainable.

And let's all admit that Flacco screwed up the game (by passing it to Polimalu)m but he'll come back next year much stronger than before.

any word on how Willis is doing? I know he's not paralyzed but he seemed to be in true pain when they carted him off.

Pete's reply: From what I heard late last night, he has a sore neck but will be okay.

Good comments and agree about the stupid penalty which cost us at minimum the lead. But the play calling was way too conservative, as it was in Tenn., Even the cardinals pulled out a flea flicker to day? What would it have hurt? our running game was not bad and we didn't try to use it effectively, Only once did we run a play to get the Pitt D out of sync and it worked.(thedouble reverse) Cam should have shown them Troy Smith, I am not saying it would have worked but just make them think a bit, The third and forth and one should have been run like we ran the goal line offense which opened up gapping holes,They were so ready for the QB keeper and up the middle plays. That was johnny U was at his best he usuallly did the unexpected. Pitt like our D is ready for those common plays up the middle. Can;t believe we did that.

McClain said his ankle was fine, it was part of the game plan not to run him this week. Given what McClain did this year and how vital he was to our success this was really stupid.

It was a tough loss, but an unexpectedly good season. Has any team ever played 19 (was it?) games in a row without a break and still managed to play that well with half the key players out or playing hurt? Forget the idiot foul and the missed calls; these things happen every year on both sides of the football. The refs and the players always make mistakes, and you just hope they aren't critical. Anyway, it was a great run, and I think the city should be real proud of the team. It would be nice if the Cardinals would beat the tar out of Pittsburg, but that's not going to happen, I guess.

I was cutting Mr. Stone right on the spot,straight to the locker room.We had a chance to take it at the end.I don't want to see that young man in training camp next year.Those Raven juvenile penalties are supposed to be over.Unless he was playing in "lala" land and nobody knew it at the time I say collect your next check and look for another team next year;sheez!

Huge Steeler fan here, and I must say, regardless of the outcome on Feb 1st, I think tonight was the true Superbowl. The Ravens were the team I most feared playing in the playoffs, and the game did not disappoint. Were the Ravens in the NFC, I think the Superbowl would have been Ravens-Steelers. Yes I'm glad the Steelers won, but the Ravens never fail to impress. I'm on the edge of my seat and having heart palpitations every time they play each other. I'm sure I speak for the majority of Steeler fans when I say our prayers are with McGahee and we hope he recovers fast and well. Not all of us are classless.

ravens had a great year. the steelers defense played better than the ravens d. ravens gave up too many big 3rd down plays. i wish the ravens had used ray rice earlier in the game throwing him screen passes. the personal foul by stone hurt the team badly. ravens got lucky that steelers dropped 2 td passes. all in all the ravens have a lot to look forward to next yr. need more speed at receiver. offensive line should improve with the experience of this yr. flacco will get better.

It's kind of funny, but I actually forgot that I was watching the game whose winner would go to the Super Bowl. I was just hoping the Steelers would beat the Ravens. I couldn't bear the thought of losing to the dreaded Ravens at home. And then it hit me: the Ravens have (in my mind anyway) supplanted the Browns as my most bitter rival for the Steelers, in just, what 10-11 years? Perhaps it's because the new Brownies stink really bad, or that the Ravens used to be the Brownies, but whatever the reason, I so get up for the Ravens games now. I think it might be because if we beat the Ravens, we had to truly earn it. I really hate the Ravens, but I mean that in the nicest possible way. I totally respect you, and I thank you for a great season, but I'm very glad you lost. I hope this came across in a positive manner, in a bizarre kind of way, because it was intended that way. Good luck next year (except against the Steelers!)

Steeler fan who has been reading the Baltimore Sun online this week - Schmuck, great columns all week, enjoyed them....
With Flacco at QB, I think the best days of this rivalry are still ahead of us.....Ravens have a franchise QB now...definitely a two team division...can forsee a few more AFC championship games between these teams in the years ahead

Pete's reply: I agree on Flacco, but fear the best days of the Ravens defense may be in the rear view,

you're right about the personal foul being a dumb mistake, but the refs should have ignored it in order to make up for the roughing the punter call. I've been watching football for over 30 years and that was one of the most ridiculous calls I've ever seen. Edgar Jones didn't even touch the punter.

"I was glad to see Hines Ward get hurt."

"from a ravens fan... some of you are really low class..."

You are a class act Jerry, I am a Steelers fan myself and I found no pleasure in seeing McGahee hurt on the field. Anyone that revells in a player being hurt is a ignorant and classless fool.

That personal foul penalty was so,so bad. It took what looked like workable field position and turned it into a field that looked 200 yards long. The offense was not moving the ball and after the penalty it wa hopeless. If it wasn't for the Steelers punter, the Ravens may have been shut out.

I don't know many of the Ravens on the special teams. Is that the the only play that Stone made? Obviously he didn't do anything else on kick-offs, punts or where ever he got a chance. When you lose a game by nine points, one play isn't the defining moment. Pittsburgh had there share of stupid plays. A retalitory shove by the Steelers let the Ravens keep their drive alive. You were simply outplayed.

Pete's reply: They were definitely outplayed, but the score was 16-14 when that stupid penalty happened. The Ravens were 25 yards out of field goal range with a chance to take the lead near the end. Huge play.

an observation from a Steeler fan.

A problem to me seemed to be the lack of the Ravens receivers able to get open. There were a few times when Flacco had a lot of time to scan the field looking for an open man. i like the way Mason plays but he needs a compliment or two to force the nasty Steeler linebackers to drop into converage on occassion. Has Todd Heap's play really declined that much? It wasn't long ago that he seemed to be one of the best in the game.

and for those that are happy that Hines Ward got hurt and that someone gets to collect a bounty, we'll take a minor knee sprain in return for a Super bowl berth any day of the week. the Steelers don't need the incentive of a bounty to play great defense and hit hard.

Pete's reply: The problem for the Ravens is that they don't have enough big-play receivers.

If our city sucks then why is Pittsburgh losing residents? Oh right, cause there are no jobs.

And without Baltimore, we would be kissing the queens ass right now

Just a simple....


"steelers suck" authored that the only reason he wasn't really mad about the afc championship is because hines ward got hurt. typical classlessness by a ravens fan

Sorry McGahee got hurt on a legal hit. Clark never left his feet and hit with his shoulder. I guess it's karma as you remember Lewis knocking Mendenhall out for the season.

I thought there was a late hit in the first half on Roethlisberger that wasn't called for roughing the passer.

Posted by: DK | January 18, 2009 11:26 PM - "However, I was glad to see Hines Ward get hurt. That's the only reason I'm not completely angry tonight"

DK, you sir are a class act.
Glad a player got hurt? Whatever, moron.
Regardless of which team you root for, to wish or be glad when someone gets hurt is despicable. Everyone gets emotional during big games, but they're just that, GAMES.
That being said, helmets off to the Ravens. I really think that if they were in the NFC it'd be a Ravens/Steelers Super Bowl. And you guys think the O's are bad, have you SEEN the Pirates?!?!?!

Pete's reply: I agree. No one should be happy anybody got hurt. If you've reached that point as a fan, you need to reassess.

Stone got wacked very early in the game, and helped off the field, I guess he was determined to get even. We lost the first Steeler game this year because of a personal foul against Jerret Johnson and yesterday, after playing terrible on offense all game, we had a "big time shot" before Stone's selfish (not caring a bit for his team), idiot foul. The Ravens made about 437 mistakes, I stopped counting around 30. Bad game, tough game. The difference in all 3 Steelers games was Ben. He's really good. All that said the Ravens gave it all, to the the last drop of blood. As a fan I could ask for no more. Great season with a hugh bright future ahead. That's not because of Flacco, that's because of the front office and our coaching staff. I love Flacco but he has a long way to go, and much to prove. But don't blame those last 2 interceptions on him. They would not have happened if not for Stone making Flacco start from the 15 yard line instead of the 40 with the championship on the line and time running out. That was too much to ask even of the great "Joe Cool". THANKS TO ALL YOU BALTIMORE RAVENS !

Pray for McGahee? He's going to be fine, might not play again though. Talk about Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, will you pray for them?

As a Steelers fan, I have to say that I'm never comfortable seeing them come up on our schedule, and seeing how well Flacco and Harbaugh have done this year means the rivalry is only going to get that much better. I hate the Ravens with every ounce of Steelers blood that runs through me, but I respect the hell out of them, and even when we were up in the fourth quarter, I wasn't able to calm down until the game was over. So far as I can tell, you guys have a bright future, and there should be some more classic games to come.

However, I was glad to see Hines Ward get hurt. That's the only reason I'm not completely angry tonight.

You fail as a human being. After the excitement of the fumble wore off, the fans stayed quiet when we realized that McGahee was seriously injured. Then we cheered for him twice. You, sir, have no class.

The Ravens played their hearts out, and that's really what pro football is all about. They, and you Ravens fans, have every reason to be proud.

Hang in there, and all the best to McGahee. Looks like he should be okay.

Hey Pete, is there any way you can edit some of the more obscene posts from your blog. Stating that "i am glad someone got hurt" is not a statement of a true sports fan. Or the uneducated trash talk. If bloggers are going to berate a fan or a City they should at least consult a dictionary or thesaraus for creativity.
The Ravens surpassed everyone's pre season expectations. They gave it their all yesterday and that is the most we can ask for.

Pete's reply: Doing the best I can here, but I think it's good to have the commenters rebuke the guy. It's a ridiculous comment.

Im a Steelers fan, but first and foremost congrats on a great season, you guys truly are one of the best in the NFL. I am a little disappointed/upset though of you mindless Baltimore fans being happy about Hines getting hurt. That's ridiculous. What if some of us would have come on here cheering about Willis getting carted off on a stretcher? Two different types of injuries, i understand that, but had that been Hines you idiots would still be cheering. Steeler fans/players have too much class for that. And until you people and your team develop some class and quit having meltdowns at the end of football games (bart throwing the officials flag last year, the personal foul hitting Hines out of bounds earlier this year, Stone and his antics this game, etc) you guys will always play second fiddle to the Steelers in the north, in the afc and in the nfl.


first - DK, you said some good things and then showed your true colors by your hines ward comment. what's wrong with you?
second - someone commented on the pa system playing music while the players were down after the collision - did you hear our fans applaud for your guy and when he was near the tunnel, yelling 'get well Willis' (people with terrible towels, no less).
third - great year for you guys and terrific head coach.
fourth - i lived in Federal Hill years ago and love the city. can someone please speak up and tell some of the idiot fans (and players) to stop the talk about bounty. seriously, it makes you guys look bad.
finally - interesting how the game seems to have come down to the stupid personal foul at the end of the game. look at the qb rating (flacco will be great) and the score. in my view, recognizing it's biased, the ravens were fortunate to be as close as they were and the game went to the better team.

Okay, enough of looking back. Let's look to the 2009 season and I have a big, big suggestion for what the Ravens need.
I think that the Ravens need just one goal and that is to build a team to beat the Steelers. That's all! Because, if they can do that, everything else will fall in place and we'll be so good that we won't have to worry about other teams. Just get the right players and build a team to beat the Steelers. If we don't, the Ravens will be like the Red Socks for so many years when the Yankees dominated the play-offs, always losing in the end. The Socks got the players they needed to compete with the best and the Ravens need to do the same. Go Ravens, you gave us quite a ride!

Saw a lot of 6'5" fast receivers with good hands in the BCS. ONE of them (at least) should be ours in the draft. We also need a cornerback to replace McAllister. We could use another running back and tight end. More offense, please!

Go Cardinals!

Hey Ravens fans... Would you be willing to trade us Stone for Sweed? Not sure who would get the better end of that deal. Congrats for a great season. Your team is definitely one to fear.

as i commented before the game about laying an egg in pittsburgh on sunday, well, they did that, now you can hope it hatches into an offense

Hopefully Stone didn't get bricks thrown through his window for that bonehead decision.

That aside, I think the play calling could have been better. Cameron needs to come up with plays that utilize short passes for gains of 5 or 6 yards underneath. Those can be just as effective, especially when you have a great route receiver like Mason.

What do you think, Pete?

Pete's reply: To be a great team, they need to be able to do everything. That means they need a big-play receiver to stretch the field.

One last thing about the Stone penalty. It was ridiculous, undisciplined, and inexcusable, and it may have cost us the game. However, Kemoeatu's equally bone-headed play had a direct impact on our first TD, while who's to say we would have been able to drive the 30-35 yards needed to put us in field goal position? I like to think we would have, but we ended up with a first down at the 32 regardless. Those types of things balance each other out, even years later. When Orlando Brown single-handedly gave the 2004 wild-card playoff game to the Titans with his personal fouls, we got redemption in this year's divisional game when Tennessee was the undisciplined, useless-penalty-making team (oh, and we got the benefit of a bad call just like they did earlier in the season). When you beat the same team three times in the same season, you're probably the better team, so kudos to Pittsburgh, but I've never been more proud to be a Ravens fan.

I agree that it is just not in the spirit of the sport to be glad that anyone gets hurt. Controlled violence is of course a major part of the appeal of the NFL. But violence within the rules, hitting to win, not hitting to hurt. Bounties and "gee I'm glad that guy got injured" threaten to turn the game into a thug's league.

It also amazes me that Balty fans hate Hines Ward so much. By contrast, Ray Lewis has put the hurt on so many more people, but yet I have never heard a Pit fan say anything about hating him or wishing him to be hurt. The Ravens D announces a bounty on heads, and that is clean?

Fans criticise Ward for crackback blocks - of the kind that Limas Sweed delivered in the game - and trash talk. But this is football. Trash talk delivers the goods, like Stone's personal foul. Crackbacks are part of the game. Yes, it's too bad the guy wasn't watching, but this is FOOTBALL. When a QB gets blind-side sacked, is that "unfair"? When a RB loses the football because he didn't expect Suggs to tomahawk chop the ball from his hands, is that "unfair"? If the hit is between the lines and before the whistle, it's fair. Like it or not.

Lewis put out Rashard Mendenhall with a broken bone. a hard hit, unfortunate injury. But no one is going to suggest Lewis was WRONG to hit RM.

The Ravens had a great season, very surprising. If the team had been in the NFC, it would be a Ravens/Steelers SuperBowl, no doubt.

The fact that the Balty fans are now worried about a talent exodus shows how much regard the league has for Baltimore players and coaches.

Well lets get this the idiot who thinks that the bounty was collected on Hines Ward,last time I looked the turf at Heinz Field wasn't on the Ravens staff,and thats what caused his knee sprain,and you Baltimore fans really pride yourself's as being a bunch of no class dip s**ts,you don't deserve this team,at least they act and play like men...they make no excuses and take responsability for there actions on and off the field...a far cry from what I have read here...the bottom line is that the better team and city won...nuff said....

I agree with the "props" for Suggs and his brave performance. Additionally, Willis' picking up the blitz should be a clinic tape for young players. Part of the game that may take the longest to understand is the utilization of zone defenses. Joe Cool made the most of the one-on-one opportunities this season, but he still needs to get schooled on the "rest of the story". That will take reps and study. Then he will chew up the middle of the field. I think Cameron had to show restraint in his play calling based upon the ability of the personnel.

Pete: After reading your blog with it's comments about the Steel City the other day, I had to see what you'd say today. I found your comments classy and understated and the responses much more interesting. I thought the CBS announcers were very pro Ravens through-out the game, so it's funny that one of your fans felt the opposite, I guess it's just which side of the Terrible Towel you are on. I was also concerned about the response to the injury on McGahee. While everyone knew that this was going to be a very physical game, no one ever wants to see a player badly hurt and there are more prayers for his rapid recovery than the few thoughtless comments you've gotten. Come on Steelers fans, let's show Baltimore how wonderful we REALLY are!
The Steelers did play a better game but Ravens played amazingly and they should be proud of themselves.
Finally, to the Ravens fan in The Burgh: Dude, if you are that unhappy living in a town that sports Black and Gold all year 'round, you need to think about moving!

Pete's reply: Thanks for the note. Great win. Sets up a very interesting matchup for the Super Bowl. Half of me thinks the Steelers blow the Cards out and half of me thinks Kurt Warner and those receivers are on another planet right now.

Steelers Suck -

No real fan is glad to see anyone get hurt! Taking your logic, I guess Steeler fans should be glad that Willis got the daylights smacked out of him. The Ravens don't need fans like you. I bet you find wife beating OK too! Sorry Pete for the blast!!

Hello Pete,
I have several comments to make about your blog over the last couple of days. First and foremost, I think that most people got that you were being facetious when you wrote about our city, but maybe next time use your best stuff instead of saving it. Second, to the poster that said that black and yellow is what you see when you use the restroom, you need some serious fiber. Third, if you are happy a player, any player, got hurt then you need an anger management course. Also is it possible to do a poll to see if Raven fans are rooting for the Steelers or the Cardinals in the SB, I’d like to think the Ravens would want the AFC team to win. ;o) Great season and see you next year!

Pete's reply: Thanks for the note and good line about the "fiber." Either I or Dan Connolly will undoubtedly do that blog poll in the next week or so. I'm guessing it'll be surprisingly even between the people who think their "second-favorite team is whoever is playing the Steelers" and the ones who -- like two years ago -- can say the team that knocked the Ravens out won the Super Bowl, and No. 2 in the power rankings might not be so bad.

Pete, I don't think anyone can disagree with you. My question is, what are your thoughts on achieving this? Are there any FA available or is only via trade, since drafting and developing a big play WR does not happen w/i 1 year.

Does trading Chris McCalister have any weight to it? CMac for Boldin?!?!

Pete's reply: I have no idea what kind of value Chris has right now. Can't imagine you get Boldin for him, but I guess it's okay to dream. There are some big, playmaking receivers in the draft. Be interesting to see if that's a priority for Ozzie.

Very physical game as they usually are when these 2 teams hook up. The Ravens D for being as banged up as it was really played lights out! But Raven fans, please quit whining about ref calls. It cheapens the progress the team made. All teams have calls that go against them. I'm neither a Raven or Steelers fan, but the game's outcome figured to be dictated by the 2 best defenses in football.

All in all, a very good year for the Ravens. Although Flacco still has room to improve, looks like the team has a keeper at the QB position. So the team looks to have found a really good coach & QB in 08, and won a lot of games. How can you not love that!

Lastly prayers to Maghee! Hope the kid bounces back just fine!!

Well the Steelers are off to the superbowl again. The 12th man didn't help the birdies last night, although they tried. I agree that they missed the punt play act., but you have to agree that Holmes caught that ball, made a 'football' move to stretch it to the endzone, and the ground caused the non-fumble. Therefore was a completed pass.
If he would have lost control before it hit the ground...and the ball went through the endzone, it would have been Balty's ball after a touchback. Right?
So he caught it, made a football move, and the ground caused the ball to come loose...therefore nullifying his need to hit the ground with possession.
It's a dumb rule, but so is spearing the QB, as they did to Ben a few times that also went uncalled.
Hey, enuf sed...Steelers are SB bound...and Cleve Brown's The Sequel are sitting at home...

Most of the pertinent comments have already been made but I will point out that our D looked very tired in late quarter blitzing one point Ray blitzed into the line and basically stopped running...think the continuous play caught up to thema little...

To "Anonymous | January 18, 2009 11:03 PM" who spent a whole page whining about calls going against the Ravens -- it worked both ways. The first pass interference call at the goal line against the Steelers was rubbish. That led to an unearned TD instead of a FG. Also, Holmes took at LEAST two steps with the ball at the goal line, no way that catch should've been called a drop. Plus the hit in Ben's back was borderline late -- Ravens were lucky to get away with that one.
So you see it goes both ways.

After reading most of the comments, it boils down to this:
Holmes catch/no catch.
Next play no holding called.
Taking the last second away in 2nd quarter, giving it to Balty at 2 min warning in the 4th.
Steeler personal foul preceeded by hands to face NON call.
Flacco was flushed rookie. Steeler meat!!
Tomlin should have reviewd Holmes 'non catch' AND that last second in first half, but didn't.

hahahahaahhah... wait a minute...hahahahahahahahaha.....Justice was served !!! YOU LOST AGAIN !!! Please ravenites, stop thinking you could've,would've,should've... you lost..
Don't blame the refs for the calls... You got plenty of them, you got plenty of no calls as well (ie holds, late hits on Ben..) I mean the refs spotted you 7 points on the Pass interference... PLEASE STOP !!! You lost... Three Times... Please just admit the Ravens can't hang with the STEELERS !!!!!
PS: Next time you guyz are in THE Burgh, We will even let you touch the SUPERBOWL TROPHY !!!!
YOU LOST quote the raven.

Pete's reply: I'm just honored that in the wake of a great Steeler victory, you thought of me instead of them. Thanks.

The Stone penalty cost the entire Ravens team, the fans, the owner and everyone who loved Ravens not only the season but credibility throughout the league. This was the greatest momentum changer in a Baltimore football game that I have seen that I can remember. I hope and pray that Mr. Stone will be able to overcome this and mentally be able to deal with this mistake .
Good luck to Willis and all the players and coaches.

Dear Baltimore,

I just wanted you all to understand that win or lose, from now on our two cities will have the best rivalry in the NFL. I remember when the Cleveland team moved to Baltimore, I don't know who was upset more, Cleveland or Pittsburgh. We missed the great rivalry. But it is good to see it again with Baltimore.

Nice game

Take heart Ravens fans...there's always the BLAST!

Pete's reply: Thanks for thinking of us. Stay classy.

Is it just me or are the Steelers fans some of the homeliest people on the planet? There must be something in the water up there to make people that ugly. Sure, Baltimore is no LA or NYC, but, at least we can rest soundly knowing that Steelers fans eventually have to go home and see their frightening reflections in the mirror.

Pete, you'll appreciate this. I was looking through the Philly Inquirer to gague the reaction to their big loss yesterday. Typically Philly fans/writers: Jump on the bandwagon when they squeak into the playoffs, then dog the team when their surprise playoff run ends. A couple of the writers said they felt cheated, betrayed, and guilty for hyping up a possible trip to Tampa and a 2nd championship parade. GIVE ME A BREAK!! I lived there for 4 years (the NFC title game years), and all I can say is this doesn't surprise me one bit.

Hats off to the Ravens for a phenomenal year. At least it's not an all-PA Super Bowl. I'm pretty sure that's a sign of the apocalypse.

I just read a comment about someone being glad Hines Ward got hurt last night. You fans are unbelievable. I havent heard any one from Pittsburgh saying "Hey glad we put Willis in the hospital" Show some class Baltimorons. Thats why you will also play second fiddle to Pittsburgh. Good luck to Willis on his recovery. Been a fan of his since he was in Buffalo and hope to see him next year.

Pete's reply: Actually, I've heard both, and they are equally reprehensible.

sad to have this season end
pete, any updates on all of the ravens on inured reserved? are guys like mccalister, yanda, landry, going to be ready for next year?

I am never glad to see a player get hurt, unless that player DESERVES it. Hines Ward is the dirtiest player in football and has been for years. He takes pride in dishing out cheap shots. He was proud of himself when he broke that guy's jaw and later bragged about it. Watch the hits, so many of them have nothing to do with the play and everything to do with trying to cause an injury. I believe in karma and it will catch up to him. How could any objective person not be satisfied when he gets his just deserts? I guess they are the same people who are anti-death penalty (less than 25% in Maryland).

All the Ravens fans complaining about the penalties and bad calls against them need to grow up. You lost the game because you weren't as good as the Steelers! want a bad call? How about the Santonio Holmes touchdown in the first half that was reviewed and became an incomplete pass? That was horrible officiating! It goes both ways..


At 58 and a life-long Steeler fan, I was looking forward to and dreading yesterday's game. I really believed the Ravens had the momentum and talent to beat the Steelers. When McGahee went into to the end zone standing up on his second TD, I thought it would be a matter of minutes before the Ravens would take the lead. It's a shame that "pro" atheletes can't control their tempers. Like many other of your readers, I think Stone's bonehead penalty cost the Ravens 26 big yards and the game.

Also, I think the win was muted by McGahee's injury. I know that I'm among a majority of people in Pittsburgh who prayed with Ray Lewis that Willis will be OK. This is the frightening part of pro football. It must of been hell on earth for his family to watch him lying on the field.

Hats off to the Ravens on a great season!

A few comments regarding the Steeler/Ravens game.

First, the Ravens have played between 15 and 16 straight weeks. This takes a toll on a team that plays tought defense. It's hard to recover from injuries unless you have great trainers and obviously Baltimore has excellent personnel.

Next, I'm a Steeler fan, but I must praise the young quarterback who played with great poise in his first year. He must now guard against that sophomore jinx that happens quite frequently to players who have immediate success.

The Steelers played the toughest schedule in football this year. This according to the NFL. The had a quarterback who was sacked over 50 times. They sustained injuries to a number of their key players. Despite this they are now playing in the super bowl.

The Ravens certainly had a chance to come back in the fourth quarter and possibly go for a winning field goal. This did not occur, but one thing you have to remember is that prior to half time Limas Sweed dropped a sure touchdown. Had that occurred the game might have been over at that time.

The bottom line is this. Pittsburgh and Baltimore were the two best defensive teams in the NFL and played a great game. It's hard to win 3 in a row, but it was done this year and again, credit to the Steelers.

These are two equally balanced football teams. I heard today you are loosing your defensive coach. You will need to find someone with his football savvy and then resign your linebacking corp.

Good luck to the Ravens next year!

The hit on Mcgahee was clean. "Happy that Ward got hurt" does not represent 99% of Raven's fans. There were bad calls on both sides of the ball, running into the kicker and the first pass interferance penalty. Flacco is no Ben (at least not yet) Both teams dropped balls and made stupid penalties. It was an ugly game, but most Raven fans (including this one) know that the better team won.
Steeler fans, you can stop talking trash now, you won. You should be nice to us anyway, we did something you couldn't do, beat Tenn. And Raven's fan, we had a great season. Feel bad for a day, but get over it. After 13 years, we finally found a QB!

Pete -- Pgh resident and steelers fan here but I'll log into the sun more often to read your columns, I enjoyed that this past week. Hats off again to the ravens who as always brought it last night. Someone else already said it, I always am nervous about playing the damn ravens. combination of hate and respect I guess.

The hit on Mcgahee was clean. "Happy that Ward got hurt" does not represent 99% of Raven's fans. There were bad calls on both sides of the ball, running into the kicker and the first pass interferance penalty. Flacco is no Ben (at least not yet) Both teams dropped balls and made stupid penalties. It was an ugly game, but most Raven fans (including this one) know that the better team won.
Steeler fans, you can stop talking trash now, you won. You should be nice to us anyway, we did something you couldn't do, beat Tenn. And Raven's fan, we had a great season. Feel bad for a day, but get over it. After 13 years, we finally found a QB!

Pittsburgh fan here. Congrats Baltimore on a great season you have nothing to be ashamed of with the season you had. I love to hate you guys. Cleveland used to have my "rival" title but they simply suck too bad. As im sure you already know. But now to the for the officiating i thought it was terrible on both sides. neither team supremely benefited from bad calls we both dealt with it. Not to be a yinzer (pgh term for a pgh fan wearing blinders) I feel we controlled the tempo of the game on both sides of the ball for just about the entire game. 3rd down conversions and the turnover battle was a landslide victory for us and those stats are normally favoring the winning team. Best hope to Mcgahee, he is in good hands in our hospitals. Whoever wrote they were happy Ward got hurt is dispicable. Watch him make plays in 2 weeks and eat those words. Flacco shows promise though, he reminds me of a rookie qb we had in the AFC championship a few years ago. Stone's PF was stupid, borderline criminal...which would make him a great fit in Cincy...HA! Go Steelers!!!

Just a couple of thoughts: Steelers are the better team. We need a few top class receivers besides Mason. That personal foul on the sidelines was huge. Turned the game around. Primanti Bros. sandwiches are an excellent indication of the dysfunctional nature of the Steel City. What don't they put into those sandwiches???

I wish for three things every season.: that the Steelers go to the show, that Dallas makes fools of themselves and that we beat the Ravens. It was a good season. That being said, my hatred of the Ravens has been tempered by the sportsmanship in defeat I am seeing. Flacco has been a regular statesman and I think it is sincere. I read the Sun expecting a lot of sour grapes and whining about officiating, but no. Good game guys. Oh, you can have that brain surgeon from the first page who says he is a Baltimore fan born in Pittsburgh. He's a prize.

I wish for three things every season.: that the Steelers go to the show, that Dallas makes fools of themselves and that we beat the Ravens. It was a good season. That being said, my hatred of the Ravens has been tempered by the sportsmanship in defeat I am seeing. Flacco has been a regular statesman and I think it is sincere. I read the Sun expecting a lot of sour grapes and whining about officiating, but no. Good game guys. Oh, you can have that brain surgeon from the first page who says he is a Baltimore fan born in Pittsburgh. He's a prize.

Amazing that the Ravens did not put a single drive together all night, but there are Raiders fans, err, I mean, Ravens fans, who are convinced that the Stone penalty -- which WAS inexcusable, I agree -- "cost [the Ravens] at minimum the lead." What game were you watching??? Well fought game, though. Our prayers are out to WM.

My wife and I agree that the Heinz Field PA system should not have been playing music while Willis McGahee was injured down on the field. I am a Steeler fan and am the stadium announcer at a local high school. My former mentor told me, "When a player is injured, simply say NOTHING!" That goes for music over the sound system as well.

Steeler fan trolling here. Ravens had a great year. Flacco looks good, only accuracy is a small question mark.

The Stone penalty was dumb but somewhat typical of the Ravens and their 'thug' mentality. They have enough good players - why go over the top with the BS? Immaturity hurts them.

As the offense gets better, the defense will likely decline some. Harbaugh and staff did a good job overall. Too many timeouts and challenges early.

Steelers left them in the game too long. Steelers have a mostly 2nd string O Line - that's why they can't run the ball like they did before. The Ravens were fortunate to be in it as long as they were, but that's the Steelers fault ie: dropped TD and missed FG opportunity at the very least.

I am thrilled to see the Ravens go down. I hate Ray Lewis and his act - you're not at the 'U' anymore. That said, he was a great player and is still very good. Better not play too long or he'll end up like Butkus - a wounded lion that will be a huge target for offensive guys wanting to take him out.

Suggs and many others played hurt and played hard all game. I respect their efforts. You know you won a real game when you beat the Steelers, Ravens or Titans.

Arizona will be a different type of game. If Pitt can beat or play close with the best in the NFL this season, it's hard to imagine them losing to the Cards. Who doesn't believe that any of those 3 AFC teams (above) can't beat Arizona? Pass offense is great but physical play will be new to them.

Colt Brennan? Maybe we can talk Timmy Chang out of retirement instead. Rob, you are retarded.

Really some delusional Raven fans out there who think Cam Cameron was too conservative last night, what game were you watching, the Ravens tried several times to stretch the field, remember the doublke reverse? The Ravens were a mediocre offense all year supported by an amazing defense, similar to Pittsburgh in 2004, when Big Ben was getting way too much credit for their success. I think having Cameron as your offensive coordinator was the best thing for Flacco, and he will be a good NFL quarterback, right now he is average. That being said, clearly the better team won and will the Super Bowl. Go Steelers.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Ravens fans are classless criminals like their beloved(way overrated) Ray ( i'll stab you) Lewis! Get used to it, we will be stomping you for years to come as we have been the past several years. This was my SuperBowl, beating the snot out of your team and reading you cry on your blog the next day. Your better off sticking with baseball. Footballs a mans sport and your just a bunch of crying little classless girls. GO STEELERS!!!!

Pete's reply: Coming from a classy guy like you, that means a lot.

Hey Pete,
I agree with you re the best of the D being in the rear view mirror - especially with major defections probable. Also, re the O-line's inability to provide decent holes Sun and in TN, are they over-rated? All that being said, considering the NFL's parity and teams leap-frogging each other every year, a la the Ravens this year, considering that we need more parts than many fans seem to realize, and based on the loss of RR today (more coaches to follow), do you think the Ravens can sustain this year's quantum leap or do you fear there is a good chance of a regression to the norm next season?

Pete's reply: I think they'll be a playoff contender again next year. I believe the offense will be improved and the defense will regress a little. Probably balance out.

Hey Raven Fans,

The personnel foul didn't cost the Ravens the game. There was no guarantee that they would've scored from their own 40. It was a stupid penalty but hey the Steelers had their fair share of those also. A great team overcomes penalties and turnovers. Ray Lewis set up the ravens by forcing a fumble on the Steelers 40 but the Ravens offense failed to capitalize. The Steelers Defense made the plays when they had to.

The Ravens have several holes such weak WR's corps, poor corners, plus 3 out the 4 LB's will be free agents next year. The Ravens will be hard pressed to repeat the success they had this year.

But as a Steeler Fan it was sure fun watching my team beat the Ravens 3 times. I guess it is not as hard to do as all the pundits thought. This is the 3rd time the Steelers were able to beat a team 3 times in the same seasons.

You know, it's obvious that many of you Ravens fans just don't know football.

1. Joe Flacco didn't suck or have a bad game. He was up against a much better defense than he usually faces. Name a QB, any QB, who has had a good game against the Steelers defense. Flacco looked bad for a reason and it is called superlative defense. I didn't see the Steelers play any really good QB's this year. Wonder why?

2. The Ravens didn't lose because of a play here or a play there. This game should have been a blowout and the Steelers should be lamenting their own poor play and judgment. Willie Parker and Limas Sweed both drop fairly easy and likely TD passes. Santonio Holmes was denied (by stupid officiating) what should have been a catch and a TD. He took two steps with the football in his possession, was touched by the opposing player going down, and had the ball jarred loose by the ground as it touched the goal line. If that's not a catch, somebody explain to me what is. And, finally, you have Ben Roethlisberger failing to get the football spiked and the clock stopped for a chip shot field goal. Could we have those easy 3 points please?

The score should have been more like 33-13. The game was only close because the Steelers made so many physical and mental mistakes.

3. In a game that was supposed to be defined by which team physically put it to the other, it was the Steelers who were delivering the knock out blows - starting with Carey Davis' leveling of Stones on the opening kick. That set the tone for most of the game.

The Ravens are a good football team, but the Steelers have simply been consistently better.

Sorry about the game last night. Sorry that you guys don't like Hines and are still interested in collecting the bounty. Sorry you guys had to disrespect the Steelers and try the tough guy act. Sorry 'bout the KO's to Willis and Ivy. Sorry Troy showed up and spoiled the Mr Ed show. Sorry that Ray didn't get another shot a a Super Bowl. Sorry that the Steelers had to finsih the job and sweep the street of the hoods and bullies.

I wish I could congratulate you on your fine season, but I can't. I can say that last night was as thorough a physical ass kicking adminsistered by the Steelers as I have ever seen.

AN Eagles Fan.

Diehard, lifelong Steeler fan here offering congrats on a great season and a hard fought game last night. I almost can't wait to face the Ravens next year already.

Thoughts on the game.

Phantom pass interference penalty leads to a gift touchdown.

Payback comes with the phantom roughing the kicker penalty.

As much as many would like to think otherwise, the Clark hit was legal. Ravens fans would be rejoicing if the shoe was on the other foot. Clark led with the shoulder and helmet-to-helmet was incidental. At full speed these things are sometimes unavoidable. I am sorely disappointed that some Ravens fans are so angry about this hit. We should all expect this kind of hitting for a Ravens-Steelers matchup, and I don't think fans of either team would have it any other way.

Anyway, we'll see you again at least two times next year.

Pete's reply: Well, you left out the uncalled offensive pass interference call on the Frank Walker near-interception in the end zone. That was worth three points. The guy had him completely wrapped before the ball got there. Flagrant. The two PI's were clearly PI's, though the first one was not as flagrant. The phantom roughing the kicker penalty was offset by the refs calling the half over when there was probably a half-second left. The Ravens got the shorter end of that stick, but it wasn't the difference in the game. They were lucky to be in it at the end. The stupid Stone penalty was a bad break, but there's no way of knowing if they could have gotten 25 yards to set up a field goal attempt. They did not move the ball much.

First of all, no true fan wants to see a player get hurt, no matter the team.
Secondly, the Steelers were the best team all season and proved it again on Sunday, but they are not the best by all that much and can be caught.
Flacco played like a rookie, it's a shame, but hardly a surprise. Heap has played like a rookie all season, and has no excuse for it.
With an aging defense and Rex gone, Harbaugh has still more problems to deal with, but getting some impact recievers has to be first on the list.
The O line was a great surprise this year and the defense continues to amaze, the Ravens are very close.
You're right, it's never wise to assume one play decides the whole game; Stones idiotic penalty hurt bad, but no worse than the Steelers losing a sure TD on a dropped pass. The officiating was atrocious, and some bad calls hurt the Ravens, but in the end the better team won.

Priority #1 for the Ravens is a speedy receiver who can get open.
#2. A true number one corner.
#3. Resign Ray and Suggs.
#4. A speed rushing DE.

We just need a few more pieces. We witnessed a power shift in the NFL this year. Teams like New England and Indy are old news. The AFC North is the new power. We get those few pieces and the Ravens will be DOMINANT for some time.

Hey Chuck. Congratulations! Your Steelers won. They truly are the better team.

But the score was 23-14. Your shoulda/woulda/coulda-been "33-13" is fiction. Your team's players made some mistakes and the officials made a call or two that went against them.

Well, the Ravens got flagged wrongly for roughing the kicker, Darren Stone committed a PF that cost us big yards, our D failed to tackle players as well as they have in the past, etc.

I'll put my Shoulda/Woulda/Coulda score at Steelers 19, Ravens 17. Congratulations, your team still wins the hypothetical game.

As a Steeler fan, I don't know if I should feel fortunate that we won or upset that we didn't play better.

Either way, I think that playing the Ravens made us a better team. As hot as the Cardinals are -- and there's no way I'm taking them lightly -- I feel good about our chances, simply because we had to go through Baltimore to get there. You can catch breaks against the Ravens, but you still have to be tough.

So, here's hoping for a full recovery for McGahee and another shot at you guys next year in the playoffs.

One of the things that made me happiest last night: The only comment I could hear from the crowd as they took McGahee off was something along the lines of, "get well." Something encouraging.

I imagine there were plenty of idiots in the stadium saying horrible things about the guy -- I was just glad I didn't hear any of it on TV.

The whole time, though, I kept reminding myself that Roethlisberger was in the same situation three weeks ago, and he's fine now.

Very glad to hear that there's apparently nothing permanently wrong with Willis.

Pete's reply: Thanks for the classy note. I can't say enough about the way Ben played. He was fantastic. What a playmaker, though we already knew that.

Every year, regardless of the records, the Ravens are the most "scary" opponents on the schedule. In the past, their defense ALWAYS made them a threat to beat the Steelers. Rest assured, if you beat the Ravens twice, you are a good team. I dislike their "act" and they way they play, but respect the heck out of them. I think the reason why they are a great rival is because either team can win...regardless of the record.

The officiating was bad, but not an excuse. The phantom roughing the punter call was one of the worst in recent history! Much like the last game though, there was SO much talk about the "refs taking the game away" at the goal line...but conveniently there is NO talk of the 92 yard drive before that call. Great teams don't dwell on excuses.

Last year, the Steelers lost to Jacksonville on a QB scramble (during which there is a CLEAR holding penalty), but guess what...the Steelers had several chances to stop that drive. You can have no sour grapes when you "allow" the referees to beat you on one play.

Hines Ward is "dirty" player because he is the best blocking receiver in the game, yet Ngata peels back and lays out Ted Ginn on an Ed Reed INT....THEN Chris Berman and the boys highlight, spot shadow & super-slow mo the hit. Granted, Hines' "victims" rarely see the shot coming, but I'm not sure if Ngata sent Ginn a telegram pre-hit letting him know either. If we are using the same ruler, then Ngata is the dirtiest defensive lineman in the game...a "cheap shot artist" if you will....

I must admit, it is laughable hearing fans of a team - who openly talk about having bounties on other players - complaining about being roughed up!

The key to beating the Ravens (thus far), is being able to withstand the two incredible plays their defense is going to make (one of which is usually an Ed Reed TD :-). For all of the talk about "could have's," don't forget that Limas Sweed dropped a sure TD (it was priceless to see the Raven coaches' faces in the backgroud) that would have put the Steelers up 20-7. I think any objective fan would conceed that would have been very difficult to overcome. It "could have" completely changed the game. Reading all of these posts made me think....I bet there are a TON of Tennessee fans posting on a blog somewhere saying, 'IF only Crumpler held on to that ball. IF only Johnson hadn't gotten hurt. IF the refs didn't hose us on that delay of game." Sounding familiar????

Schmuck, you are correct on the personal foul call. Horrible mistake that changed the game at the time. Unfortunatley, however, those are things that good teams make you pay for - like turning it over when going in for a score.

You are also 100% correct on needing a deep threat. I think Flacco will be fine...eventually. The AFC Championship in a hostile environment againt Dick LeBeau is about as tough as it gets. The Steelers D has made MANY people look a lot worse. "Joe Cool" will be exponentially more dangerous if he gets a deep for God's sake - I hope the Ravens draft several lineman!! Trust me Ozzie...the Schmuck doesn't know what he's talking about! :-) Lineman are the way to go in 2009....

Finally, I too thought Simms was pro-Baltimore - so it was funny to read the fans who thought otherwise. Regardless, I thought it was great when he said (when the Ravens were LOSING 13-0), "Baltimore has Pittsburgh right where they want them." that case, I'm guess I'm glad you apparently had us "...right where you wanted us" at the end of the game too?

For a team supposedly picked "last" in the division this year (at what point are people going to quit making Cincy the "sexy" pick?)...Baltimore had a great year and exceeded expectations. Congrats on that.

See you in '09! Go Steelers!

I'm surprised I got over this so fast. I agree with you, Pete, that it's agonizing how close the Ravens got. I was definitely one who thought it was in the bag with a start at the 40. But who thought they'd get this far? Especially when they were 2-3 and had their butts handed to them by the Colts. After that game I thought it would be a long year.

I was just happy they beat the Cowboys to close Texas Stadium. Willis won me back that night. How about his game last night? He showed more heart than most would have credited him for (to answer his critics). McGahee was playing so hard he literally knocked himself out. I think he was trying bury Clark on that hit.

I'm more depressed about the possibility of being Ray-less next year. It's a tough spot.

They should be called the RAYvens.

Thinking ahead about next season's defensive coordinator. What do you think about either Romeo Crennel or Mike Nolan? Your thoughts Pete? Thanks.

Pete's reply: I don't know if I'm qualified to rate defensive coordinators. I'm a little surprised Marvin Lewis isn't available.

As a steeler fan, I respect the Ravens for the hard, physical way they play.that said, stop whining about bad calls(plenty on both sides). Stop pretending that you have the best defense(distant second).Its funny to read how much you guys hate Hines Ward and think he's dirty or a cheapshot artist.FACT: he's the best blocking WR in the NFL ! If he was on your roster, you would love watching him play the tough, physical style play he shows us every week. your offense could use that type of playmaker (especially on third down). His hit that broke a jaw was CLEAN. Better luck next year. I will really enjoy watching your ugly purple and black get swept AGAIN !

Guys, one thing that I learned about football are that bad calls are part of the game. A team has got to put their selves in a position that a bad will not affect the out come of a game. I keep seeing calls about the P.F. on the kicker (bad call) and a no call interference on a if come interception. None of you mentioned the bad call on Holmes' catch at or in the endzone, on the following play no call interference against homes, or the constant no calls holding by the Baltimore O-line (proably both o-lines).

The game was lost because of turnovers, not calls.

It's funny how Ravens fans claim PI on Sweed but ignore the fact that Walker had a grasp on Sweeds jersey with the ball in the air.

Pete's reply: We could go back and forth on this stuff all summer. How about the non-call on the offensive PI when Frank Walker almost intercepted that ball in the end zone. the guy had him totally wrapped and the Steelers would have been out of field goal range. But the better team definitely won, so it's time to let it go.

If I didn't know better I'd have thought I was reading a Pittsburgh newspaper blog. It's amazing so many Steeler fans are out there reading Schmuck. It's also amazing how articulate they are. Still can't believe people actually eat those monstrosities Primanti sandwiches. Wonder whether anyone has ever found a license plate or plastic debris inside one of them??

Pete's reply: No accounting for taste. That wouldn't be my favorite, since I don't like cole slaw on anything (including my shirt), but it definitely would warm up a cold night. I'm partial to the Philly specialties -- both the cheesesteak and "The Schmitter." Wow, not there's a heart attack in a stack.

Where do I start?

I guess I will start by saying I am a Ravens Fan, but I am also True Sports Fan as my name states. I love football, baseball, nascar,hockey, baseball, billiards and just about any competitive endeavor. But unfortunately over the past 15 years the intent and flavor and appeal of the many sports contests has become so screwed up by the very efforts to improve the sport. I get so tired of all the "fixes to the system" that have now become additional problems we all have to endure just to watch a game and enjoy it.

Having opened with that, my thoughts may be a little disjointed as I digest my 1st live playoff game and try to convey the whole experience in a nut shell.

As for the game itself and my take on things, I give the players a lot of credit for their athleticism, skill, heart and training. Both teams played hard, but both teams also made blunders as did the refs. On that note, does anyone know the record for the longest actual time it took in a game to play 1 half of football? The first half lasted just short of 2 hours. I really do not know how the players stand around for TV timeouts every 2-3 plays. How any NFL team gets any continuity is beyond me in today's games. Don't get me started on instant replay or challenges or panzy ass penalties. Geesh, this is football. I think Jack Lambert said it best, "Quarterbacks should wear a dress" The fundamentals and quality has gone downhill as the essence of the game has been lost from too many rules, too many bad calls by refs, too many things to mention. People like Walter Payton, Jack Tatum, Ted Hendricks, Lawrence Taylor, and so many other tough guys had it right, play tough football. I think instant replay, horse collar, tippy tap penalties will always suck in my mind. Let em play ball!!!!!!!!!!!! That is all I have to say about the flaws of the Modern Game at this time.

As for the actual game,,,, It boiled down to who came out on top after making the least costly mistakes and executing some things right.
While people may rate the Ravens Defense high, as an objective fan I see all sorts of flaws. The secondary was mentioned, but from my days of football we were taught to tackle and cover our guys and wrap them up not to just arm tackle. To me, the Ravens have to work on tackling if they are to improve to become a good defense. Too many times this year I watched teams pick apart our D on 3rd and long. There is no excuse for teams to easily pick up a pass play for 14-20+ yards on 3rd down. Limas Sweed's drop on the goal line was a prime example. It could have been lethal if he had caught that and our D has been too vulnerable in my mind in that dept.
Other than that, stupid penalties, kick off and punt returns allowed for touchdowns, all cost our team terribly this year and we were lucky to overcome some of these flaws. To me, the winners make the least mistakes, and those mistakes are generally mental discipline mistakes. "Daren Stone" Like it or not, I think the Ravens mentally and physically beat themselves Sunday. I have to tip my hat to Palamalu,, he made everyone miss tackles. An interception hurts bad enough, do not let the guy run for a TD, period!!! Holmes TD run is another one that was God Awful tackling at it's finest. I guess that is all for now. I could go on forever about a lot of things. Just do not get me started about Angelos and the O's

You don't even acknowledge that I was talking about the same play as you. Walker grabbed Sweed's jersey before they even got to the end zone in order to gain inside position, yet all you saw was Sweed had him wrapped. PI could/should have been called on both of them, it's a wash.

Pete's reply: The game is over. The Steelers were the better team. Cornerbacks grab receivers on almost every play. Guys get away with PI all the time. Officials miss calls all the time. I don't think the Ravens got screwed. The only absolutely ridiculous call was the roughing the kicker thing, and it didn't have an effect on the game because the officials (who obviously knew they screwed it up) allowed the clock to run out about a half-second too soon on Ben's spike.

I think the roughing the kicker call was rediculous.

I definitely agree that the Ravens priority should be to draft "big time" receivers like a Larry Fitzgerald or Randy Moss. We need someone who can grab the ball out of the air.

Two deep throws that Flacco through at the beginning of the game bounced off both Mason and Clayton. While they are "good receivers", Flacco needs star receivers who can make the tough catches in tight coverage. If those two catches were made, I think that would have set a different tone for the game. Going deep on passes and having your receivers drop them is a confidence breaker for a young quarterback.

I'm not sure what the Ravens game plan was for the game. They just didn't look prepared or didn't execute well. I would have like to see Troy Smith involved and Ray Rice more. The Steelers definitely out played them.

I'm hoping Flacco learned his lesson in this game against the Steelers. Nothing would make me happier than to dominate the Steelers every season. I'm so tired of Steelers fans celebrating victories against the Ravens time and time again.

As for the Orioles, they should take a lesson from Tampa Bay. But instead let's spend lots of money on mediocre players who become has beens, or focus all our money on one star player who flops or leaves. Why can't they spend money on building a team from their farm system.

Just wanted to post a quick note here, I am amazed that you take the time to reply to all these comments, it shows some class. I'm a lifelong Steeler fan, so this game was great, but I'm a bit worried about this rivalry in the years to come. You guys worry me every year, but if Flacco continues to get better, look out. He was just a few mistakes away from being great this year. Grats to a great year and thanks for giving us a rivalry that we can be proud of, lord know in a division with teams like the Browns and Bungals, we need each other.

As for the penalties, I don't think that the first Pitt PI penalty was blatant. The second one, yes, but not the first. And good lord that roughing the kicker penalty was a joke. I'm very glad we didn't get points out of it, that was a sham. Again, great game.

Pete's reply: The Steelers had the Ravens' number. The Ravens were 0-3 vs. the Steelers and lost a total of three other games. I think they will get better offensively next year, but I can't imagine the defense will be as good. Thanks for stopping by.

Yes the true LACK OF KNOWLEDGE of the game of football and an ongoing history of inane commentary continues in the Sun. The ravening of REPORTER'S such as SCHMUCK continues to spread dribble. It is a shame that the Baltimore Sun, and editors, have only one reporter with some knowledge of the sport and a responsible eye for suggestive commentary. Thank you Mike PReston.

Pete's reply: Congratulations. You're spelling has improved a lot since the last time you wrote in with some of your bitter, inane vitriol.

Once again , I get a chuckle at your comeback Pete . Touche' . :)

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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