Here we go again.
On Saturday night, the Ravens and Steelers will square off for the 42nd time in this storied NFL rivalry and for the 4th time in the Playoffs. Pittsburgh currently leads the overall tally with a record of 24-17, but since the 2000 season (the first year the Ravens were above .500) the head-to-head matchup is a far closer 18-15.
In honor of the latest iteration of this AFC North slugfest, I’ve compiled a list of three of the best moments and three of the worst moments for the Ravens in this rivalry. These are in no particular order, as every win against the Steelers is pretty well celebrated and every loss greatly lamented.
Ravens win 17-14 at Heinz Field, 10/3/10
This game marked the first victory for the Harbaugh/Flacco era Ravens in Pittsburgh. Down 14-10 late in the 4th quarter, Joe Flacco drove Baltimore down the field for the winning score, finding wide receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh for an 18 yard touchdown pass with :32 remaining.
Ravens win 23-20 at Heinz Field, 11/6/11
The Steelers took a 20-16 lead in the 4th quarter, scoring two touchdowns in the final frame with the latter coming with only 1:59 left on the clock. Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with last second heroics, Joe Flacco found rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith for a 26 yard touchdown with only :08 left in the game.
Ravens win 26-6 at M&T Bank Stadium, 9/11/14
Coming off an opening week loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and reeling from the latest Ray Rice scandal revelations, the Ravens were facing the Steelers in front of a national audience on Thursday Night Football. The Ravens circled the wagons and responded by dominating the Steelers for four quarters. This was possibly their most impressive game of the season and a testament to the leadership of John Harbaugh as a head coach.
Honorable Mention: Ravens win 27-0 at M&T Bank Stadium, 11/26/06
While I couldn’t place this in my top three, I had to make note of this game, as the Ravens sacked Ben Roethlisberger nine times en route to the shutout victory. I still have fond memories of watching Big Ben go down throughout the game. This marked the second shutout of Pittsburgh in the rivalry, with Baltimore leading in that category 2-1.
Ravens lose 23-14 at Heinz Field in the AFC Championship Game, 1/18/09
This was the first season for rookie head coach John Harbaugh and his rookie signal-caller Joe Flacco. Following a 2007 season where the Ravens greatly underachieved, the 2008 season brought with it a new era in Ravens history and an unprecedented run of success for the team in the ensuing years.
Unfortunately, this season also ended with disappointment in Pittsburgh, as the Steeler defense tallied three interceptions of Flacco on their way to victory. Pittsburgh would go on to win Super Bowl XLIII over Arizona 27-23.
Ravens lose 31-24 at Heinz Field in the AFC Divisional Round of the Playoffs, 1/15/11
This was heartbreak at it’s worst.
Leading the Steelers 21-7 at halftime, the Ravens completely imploded in the second half with three turnovers and only 28 yards of offense. After a 58 yard pass play to Antonio Brown, Rashard Mendenhall would score with only 1:33 remaining on the clock to take the lead 31-24. Fittingly, this game would end with TJ Houshmandzadeh dropping a 4th down pass from Flacco during the Ravens’ final drive of the game.
Ravens lose 43-23 at Heinz Field, 11/2/14
It’s never fun watching an opponent dominate your squad and that is the only way you can describe what Roethlisberger and his wide receivers did to the Ravens in their second matchup this season. Big Ben finished with 340 yards passing and six touchdowns against an outmatched secondary for Baltimore.
Saturday night’s game will surely be entering one of these lists by Sunday morning. Here’s hoping there isn’t a repeat of November’s matchup and the secondary gives the Ravens a chance for their first Playoff win against their bitter rival.