i get so nervous when the steelers play the ravens, because i want the steelers to win so badly. so when they lose, it is so sickening.
but when they win....it is so sweet.
and this time was one of the sweetest.
partly it was because big ben did what absolutely no one - NO ONE - thought he could possibly do: throw 6 more touchdowns in this game after throwing 6 last week (the first quarterback to EVER do this). it is really great to see our franchise quarterback, who is regularly underrated, get some well-deserved national attention and accolades.
and partly this win over the ravens was especially sweet because of the return of james harrison, who was retired just a few weeks ago. he's been back for several games now, but this game found him returning to form, and scaring the unibrow off of joe flacco's face. he had two sacks to go with the two from last week, and he is once again a defensive terror that opposing teams have to worry about. it is unbelievable that he has come back to form.
and partly this win was so sweet because the steelers were honoring mr. steeler, mean joe greene, whose insatiable desire to win helped to turn the same old steelers of the previous 40 years into a dynasty of winners. whatever is in people's minds today about the "steelers way" being a way of operating and playing which has led to 6 super bowl rings (more than any other team), is largely in their minds because of joe greene. so the steelers were right to honor him and to make his number 75 the second number in team history to be retired. and it was awesome that he chose this particular game for the occasion, and the steelers were able to rise to it and deliver that beat down on baltimore.
but more than any of that, this game was sweet because these ravens beat us by 20 points down in baltimore a few weeks ago. and they came into pittsburgh sunday looking like a team who desperately wanted to be a bully. and so very early they resorted to some dirty stuff, to try and intimidate the steelers, including the egregious forearm shiver to the face of big ben, delivered by team criminal courtney upshaw, causing ben to contort his face in pain, giving us opportunities for pictures like the popeye one above. but it also gave us something else: sweet redemption. because after that punch to the face, the steelers took over the game. get these stats for a minute and let them sink in:
in the first 20 minutes (one third of the game) big ben was 4/7 for 11 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and 3 sacks.
but in the last 40 minutes he came to life, and these were his stats then: 21/30 for 310 yards, 6 touchdowns, no interceptions, and 3 sacks.
ben looked amazing. the picture of markus wheaton above came after ben dropped a beautiful long pass down the sideline right in stride to the streaking wide receiver. ben just took over and was dominant. and the rat birds responded with more bullying and violence and chest-pounding and cheap shot-ing. but in the end, it wasn't enough.
and the steelers put the ravens in the basement of the afc north, with three divisional losses already.
yes, this one was sweet. because of big ben. because of james harrison. because of mean joe greene. and because it was the big bad bullies of baltimore, who had to go home with their tails tucked between their legs.
here we go steelers! bring on the j-e-t-s, jets, jets, jets!