Saturday, December 1, 2012

Steelers at Ravens: Pre-Game Report

Steelers (6-5) Visit Ravens (9-2) Sunday, Dec. 2, 4:30 p.m. ET CBS

After last week's loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers can forget about the division title. Baltimore can clinch this weekend. In fact, the wild-card now appears to be a tad shaky since the Steelers are now tied with the Bengals for the conference second wild card spot.

While Ben Roethlisberger will not play, Charlie Batch is poised for his second consecutive start. The good news is S Troy Polamalu will likely play as well as WR Antonio Brown,  DT Casey Hampton and T Max Starks.

The Ravens will try to beat the Steelers for the second time in three weeks. They will also try to extend their winning streak at home to 17 games with a 12-game winning streak in the AFC North. The Steelers were the last team to beat Baltimore at home on Dec. 5, 2010.

The Steelers will certainly need their running game to show up against the Ravens. Last Sunday, all three Steeler backs had a "whopping" 32 yards on 15 carries. Dwyer will be starting in place of Mendenhall.

After this week's game at Baltimore, Steelers play three of their final four games at home. The December 16th game is at Dallas. In short, that final stretch will decide if the Steelers enter 2013 still playing., Fox Sports

A Voice From The Stands: "Tale Of Two Calls: In Addition To Turnovers, Irony Also Played A Role In the Steelers Loss and Ravens Victory."

With a commitment of such an abundance of turnovers, using any other logic to analyze the Steelers loss is futile. this scenario referee judgement calls played a significant role in the possible outcomes of two Sunday games, and yet the technology of instant replays and booth reviews could not be utilized to their full potential. This comment is not posed to whine about officiating but more to point out the irony of how any game can and will turn on a singular play even with the technology of replay.

1st Call: As bad as an offensive performance was we saw through those 7 meaningful turnovers (last one...who cares?), the Steelers still had a chance to win as time crept down to the two minute warning but for a judgement call on a fumble that could not be challenged by Coach Tomlin, or reviewed in the booth. What are the odds that the Steelers would have used all of our time-outs prior to the two-minute warning and were seconds away from the safe zone that would have automatically required a review with a very real chance of a change of possession?
Irony One

2nd Call: On the Ray Rice one yard reception that he turned into a 29 yard gain (the longest conversion from scrimmage on a 4th down in 12 years according to the NFL Network), the spot where he was downed (knee and elbow) was disputed in variations of anywhere from the 35yard line to the 33 yard line as he slid forward after finally being tackled. The chain gang lost its original spotting as it pulled up and the measurement then became more of a guess than an accurate read. The TV announcers claimed that the replay booth could not give a definitive spot on the original chain settings. The Ravens were then able to continue to drive and eventual victory in OT...whereas possible game over and a Raven's loss if the spot was 100% accurate.
Irony Two

When you play as ugly offensive football as we did for 58 minutes...just can't help but feel as Craig Wolfley (Steelers sideline reporter...puts it): we may have found our mojo in those last two minutes especially with that field position.
(Side Note:  dvr-ed the game and could not hear any audible whistle for forward progress on that play).

Biased view of the world...sure, why not...we're Steelers fans...but irony had its place last Sunday on those two plays.

Ron Cammarata
Ron has been a guest columnist for The Pittsburgh Steelers Report in the past.