In week one of the 2011 season the Baltimore Ravens put an embarrassing 35-7 beatdown on the Pittsburgh Steelers.  In week nine they marched into Pittsburgh and put together a come from behind victory that secured their first regular season sweep of the Steelers since 2006.

Heading into their second matchup of the season the Steelers and Ravens appeared to be teams heading in opposite directions.  After a slow start Pittsbugh had put together four straight wins while the Ravens fell flat against the Jaguars and nearly let the Cardinals beat them at home.  But none of that ever seems to matter on Steelers Week.

The Ravens went into Heinz Field, contained Ben Roethlisberger, had a solid game plan on offense and marched 92 yards down the field to score a dramatic game winning touchdown down 20-16 with 2:24 remaining.  Here are my thoughts on the Ravens best win of the 2011 season.

  • Torrey Smith is the hero – I can’t help but root for Torrey Smith.  Not only does he have an awesome story, but the guy is a lightning fast play maker.  Smith struggled for the majority of the game, he was flagged for a holding penalty on the first play that brought back what would have been a 76 yard touchdown run by Ray Rice and dropped three passes that hit his hands including one that would have given the Ravens the lead with 42 seconds remaining. For most guys those plays would have done them in. But Smith persevered and caught a 26 yard bomb in the corner of the end zone to secure the Baltimore sweep of Pittsburgh.
  • Flacco proves himself – Joe Flacco’s ability has come under fire all season long, especially during the Ravens recent struggles.  His ability to win big games or lead the Ravens to a championship has come under question by both local and national media.  Though his story is far from over, should Flacco take Baltimore to the promise land we’ll all remember his 92 yard game winning drive in Heinz Field.  Even after Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin dropped critical passes in the red zone, Flacco kept his composure and found Smith even while he was getting mugged by William Gay in the end zone for the game winning touchdown.
  • Suggs does indeed own Ben Roethlisberger – I tried to tell you that Terrell Suggs backs up his smack talk on the Steelers.  He told the world that Ben Roethlisberger’s ass belongs to him and he meant it.  T-Sizzle intercepted Roethlisberger in the third quarter on a route that he read better than Big Ben’s intended receiver, Mike Wallace.  Suggs’ play set up the Ravens first touchdown of the night and gave the Ravens a 16-6 lead after a six minute offensive drive.
  • A tip of the cap to… – A lot of guys stepped up for the Ravens during this game.  I was particularly impressed with the play of Cary Williams at cornerback, Paul Kruger who was busting heads in the middle of the field, David Reed’s explosive kick returns and Billy Cundiff who nailed a 53 yard field goal just before the half, the second longest in the history of Heinz Field.  Good work boys.
  • Sorry Collinsworth – I can’t let this post hit the interwebs without putting in a quick blurb about Cris Collinsworth who refers to Ben Roethlisberger as simply “Ben” like he’s his old drinking buddy or something.  Collinsworth didn’t say a word after the Ravens come from behind victory, it took the wind right out of his sails.  He should have at least faked some excitement, this was after all a national broadcast.  I also thought his analysis of the helmet to helmet shot that William Gay put on Torrey Smith was absolutely ridiculous.  It’s one thing to want physical plays in football, but when players lead with the head flags should be thrown.  I’m sorry that Collinsworth played in a different era, but it’s not the referees fault that they have to enforce the NFL’s new rules.
The Ravens took a huge step on Sunday night.  They not only defeated the Steelers in both of their head to head matchups, but they have increased their chances of home field in the playoffs and made a division title a realistic goal for 2011.