In ten years, somebody asks you who won the Super Bowl in 2011, and you snap your fingers, bite your lip, then turn up your palms in defeat. You can't remember. But in fifty years, when you can't recall too much about your early days, you are not really mobile anymore, and your brood gathers around your chair to hear you tell stories, somebody asks if you remember the Polamalu play against Baltimore. "Be specific," you snap. "Do you mean the interception return for a touchdown in the 2009 AFC Championship game or the sack and forced fumble on a blustery December day back in 2010?" And your grandkids will say, the old man is cranky, but he's still got it. However costly last night's win proves to be - and I think Shaun Suisham may have to line up at offensive tackle next Sunday - it's going be legendary.
For drama, this was less like a football game and more like the climactic scene in Rocky IV. The conditions were Siberian. The fans were out for blood. And our quarterbacking hero, tough, resilient, not that smart, and seeking redemption, kept getting punched in the face. The ringside announcers couldn't believe what they were seeing. "And that nose is crooked," Chris Collinsworth exclaimed. "Oh my gosh, look at his nose." Nobody thought the Steelers were getting up off the mat. The bloodied, limping Roethlisberger was the least of our problems. Terrell Suggs was blowing by, through, and around the offensive line even before the human turnstyle, Flozell Adams, went down. Bryant McFadden had a look on his face like he was in a dream where he was suddenly taking a test he didn't study for, and on top of that, he was completely naked, only to realize, to his horror, that he wasn't dreaming at all. Oh, and in a low scoring, field position game, where a 10-yard swing could be decisive, we had no punter. Yet in the end, there was Mike Tomlin's team, bruised, battered, perhaps irrevocably damaged, but victorious. More thoughts, after the jump...
- Ike Redman's fumble could have finished the Steelers, but we continue to be impressed by the kid, and the winning touchdown exemplified what he brings to the team.
- No sense belaboring the fact that the Ravens committed two serious fouls that were ignored - the blow to Roethlisberger's face and the vicious, late, concussion-inducing hit on Heath Miller, that probably would result in a suspension for James Harrison if he were the culprit in either case - but the NFL sure doesn't appear to be playing fair with one of its premier franchises.
- I'm sure that there's a good explanation for why, when the Ravens were pinned deep in their end and facing a 3rd and 15, Ryan Clark was in single "coverage" against Anquan Boldin. I'd love to hear it.
- There were so many potential turning points in this game, but don't overlook the early fourth down play when the Ravens were called for illegal motion on what looked like a fake punt that definitely would have gone for a huge chunk of yardage. If you can read lips, you saw Jon Harbaugh saying, "What a shame. What a [expletive deleted] shame."
- Somebody needs to tell Hines Ward that, though we love his joie de vivre, he needs to not smile immediately after dropping a crucial third down throw.
1) At what point will the mounting injuries simply become too much to overcome? The offensive line is bad enough when healthy -- when injured, the Steelers may be the first team ever forced to institute a 15-yard shotgun snap so that the QB has time to throw.
2) What does a win over the Ravens mean if you can't beat the Patriots? If the past 9 years have proven anything, it's that the Steelers don't typically beat New England in important games. Obviously this victory helps the Steelers against anyone other than the Patriots, but the Steelers' best path to the Super Bowl would be for another team to handle the Pats.
- If you are thinking of starting up a Little League team, consider hiring Joe Flacco to throw fielding practice. The groundball he threw on the final 4th and 2 was Jason Campbell-esque. That must have made it a long, cold walk to the car for the Ravens' fans last night, espically for having to deal with Steeler fans like the guy in this story.
- Cincinnati comes to Heinz Field on Sunday. Huge trap game, as the Jets are in town the following week. One thing we know: Shaun Suisham will be ready.