Ok, I’ll admit it. When the Ravens turned the ball over with 2:40 left in the game after failing to convert four plays at the goal line I had pretty much given up hope of John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco getting their first wins in four appearances at Heinz Field versus the Steelers. At that point, the Steelers defense had stepped up and guarded the Ravens receivers while continuing to put pressure on Joe Flacco up front. But the defense gave Joe and the boys the ball again, they marched down field and Flacco connected with Houshmandzadeh on an 18 yard touchdown reception. What a game. Here are my thoughts on the Ravens 17-14 victory over the Steelers.
- A tip of the cap to the receivers – First and foremost, I would like to say that it’s a huge sigh of relief to see Joe Flacco spread the ball around like he did yesterday. Flacco hit seven different receivers in his 24 four completions at Heinz Field. Of course, the biggest completion was with 36 seconds left on the clock when he found a wide open T.J. Houshmandzadeh. It was good to see Housh get in the mix yesterday, he recorded three catches for 49 yards, because it’s taken a few weeks to really see what he’s capable of along side Mason and Boldin. The trio finally looked like they were clicking on all cylinders combining for 16 of Flacco’s 24 completions and 197 yards.
- A+ for Flacco – I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’m Wacko for Flacco, only because I hate that saying, but Joe did just about everything right this week for the Ravens offense. With Ray Rice carrying the ball only eight times, Flacco had to step up and throw the ball and he did just that. He threw a dumb interception and couldn’t convert on the goal line four times, but it was how he responded that made up for those plays. He showed veteran like composure and got the job done. A win in Heinz Field is huge, I don’t know what Mike Preston gave him, but in my book Flacco gets an A+.
- A response to Steeler Nation – I can hear them already, “Big deal you beat Charlie Batch.” You can rebuttal by saying “You didn’t have to deal with a healthy Ray Rice.” And hey, at least the Steelers got the home field when Roethlisberger was serving his time.
- More than an ordinary “W” – Even though it was week four, this win was huge for the Ravens. Not only were they looking to avoid 2-2 and a two game deficit to the undefeated Steelers as they welcomed their starting quarterback back after a BYE week, but the Ravens would have lost two division games just a quarter of the way through the season. Getting to 3-1 is big and winning a road game against a division opponent, no matter who the starting QB, is even bigger. And Cleveland did their part by helping out with a win over Cinci.
- Thank you Jeff Reed – While it’s normal for fans to dislike their rival’s players, usually a kicker is among the list of the hated. But it’s easy to enjoy Jeff Reed’s failures, given his off field antics. Thank you Jeff Reed for shanking a 49 yarder and a 40 yarder. Shankapotamus.