OK, it may not be the greatest game in NFL history. But man, if you’re a Steelers’ fan, it’s hard to remember many more fun than this one.
The Steelers have won six Super Bowls. They’ve pulled off the greatest play in NFL history with the Immaculate Reception. So when you throw around superlatives with the Steelers, you have to be careful to not dip into hyperbole.
But if you are ranking the gutsiest wins in Steelers history, tonight’s win over the Ravens will have to rank in the top three–for me it’s No. 1 in the post-Noll era. I’d love to hear anyone suggestion of a better one.
This is the kind of game that usually ends up as a gallant loss. Once Flozell Adams and Heath Miller limped to the locker room, it would have been no huge shame to have lost a close game.
Instead Pittsburgh somehow figured out how to win a game in which they were playing their fourth and fifth-string offensive tackles, asking a kicker to punt, and trying to figure out goal line formations with only one tight end (their third string TE).
You can’t pick out one play or one player to praise. Troy Polamalu’s sack/strip obviously was crucial. Ben Roethlisberger’s stiff arm to buy enough time to avoid a Terrell Suggs sack is the difference between winning and losing. And Isaac Redman’s catch and run for the game-winning touchdown was a thing of beauty.
But you have to even credit Jonathan Scott. The Steelers’ left tackle was absolutely unable to block Terrell Suggs, but play after play he kept doing the best he could do to slow down Suggs, and he very, very rarely got any help. It was ugly. It was awful at times, but with some help from Roethlisberger’s mobility, Scott did just enough for Pittsburgh to win.
A couple of other thoughts:
* Is there any doubt that Mike Wallace is the Steelers’ No. 1 receiver now? It wasn’t spectacular, but five catches for 76 yards was an impressive effort with Roethlisberger struggling to find time.
* The Steelers’ passing attack is much more impressive now that Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown are the No. 3 and No. 4 wide receivers. The two combined for six catches for 75 yards, and it’s fair to say the Steelers don’t win this game without them.
* Anyone upset with the decision to cut Skippy and sign Skinny Skippy? Shaun Suisham made two field goals (including a 45-yarder) and even did a decent job as a fill-in punter when Daniel Sepulveda went down with a knee injury.
* With the exception of a gimpy Bryant McFadden, that was an impressive effort by the Steelers’ defense. They generated pressure, they completely eliminated the Ravens’ running game, and when it mattered, they stepped up and provided the big play for an offense that was too banged up to do it themselves.
What a great win. Pittsburgh now needs to just win the games they should win (Cleveland, Cincinnati and Carolina) to clinch the division. A win against the Jets would just be a nice bonus.