I couldn’t hide my excitement going into the game yesterday. I could feel it all around me. The air was cool and crisp and as I look outside my window, Steeler jerseys were everywhere. It was gameday. It’s that time of year when no matter what is going on in your life, you had one escape on any given Sunday. And this was the season opener for our beloved Steelers. The moment we had all been waiting for since the lockout lifted. The anticipation was killing fans prior to kickoff against the hated Ravens. The anthem was sung, the coin was flipped and the ball was kicked. The only problem was, there was only one team that showed up.
Roethlisberger said it best, Ravens were waiting for this one. And boy, did they get it. They ended the Steelers 8 game season-opener winning streak with passion. When the game started, I wondered why the Steelers were in black. I was told it was because of A) heat and/or B) the last time they lost to the Steelers they were in purple. Whatever it was, it started the game off in their favor. This was also the first time the Raven’s O-line has played together, but you couldn’t tell that. One would think this was the first time the Steelers had played together. After Anquan Boldin caught the first TD pass from Flacco, I don’t think many people thought that much of it. Steelers are known for being a 4th quarter team, I figured they’d close the gap eventually. I found myself saying that after every touchdown.
The fact that the Ravens actually set records against Steelers is so disturbing to me. It would’ve been one thing if they had just won, but not the way it went down yesterday. Ravens recovered a franchise record of 7 turnovers against them and Ray Rice rushed for over 100 yards for the first time in 51 games for the Steelers. The last one to do that was, Rice. That stings. Ravens had 4 sacks, 3 of which were by Terrell Suggs, who was looking to destroy Roethlisberger. By the 4th quarter, I was wondering why Roethlisberger was still out there. I thought they would send in Batch to give him a break and try to do some damage control.
Frustration came to a head in the last seconds of the 3rd quarter when a massive fight broke out which it look like it started with Ike Taylor smacking Michael Oher then Oher got up, retaliated and the refs saw it all and still only put the whole thing on Taylor! On the other side of the pile, I’ve rarely seen Polamalu lose it but he certainly did when Matt Birk pushed Polly from the back and Leach came in from the front. Then Woodley pushed Birk off of Polly who then got up from under Rice, grabbed his leg and dropped him straight on his back. YEAH, POLLY!! Woodley came around from the right for the final push that dropped the ref to his back. It looked like he was out cold for a minute, then came to. The camera quickly went to Polamalu’s face after and you could see the look of emotional turmoil going on in his head. He seemed to look, almost disappointed that he lost control of himself, but hey, he’s only a man and was not going to let the dirty Ravens push him around and not retaliate. Of course and soon as they were separated, M&T Stadium broke into a crushing “STEELERS SUCK” chant. They were just happy they got to say that for the first time. Wonder who Goodell will fine, not on the Ravens, but on the Steelers, of course?
In the 35-7 loss to start out the season, it seems that Tomlin and Co. have their work cut out for them this week. Tomlin kept his cool on the field, like he always does, but I’d hate to be in that locker room after that train wreck. They will have to reevaluate the lines. Everyone has their opinion on who the weak links are, but we will just have to wait until Sunday against the Seahawks to see what changes have been made. It was a brutal way to start off the season, but Steelers tend to do well as the underdogs and they’ve said it before that they like it that way. It gives them the edge to be the team they are, not the team they were yesterday.