View From 522: Steelers vs. Ravens

 Since Gretz is a season-ticket holder, he’s going to take a look at the debauchery and insanity that takes place in the Heinz Field stands after every home game he attends. 

I’ve been waiting all season for a game like this to write a joyous view from 522, and once the Steelers finally gave me one I forgot to write about it, mostly because I’ve been pretty busy with the start of the NHL season (hey, shameless self promotion time: But I’ve been writing for a lot of places lately). But better late than never, right?

Going into Sunday’s game against the Ravens I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, not only on the field, but also in the stands. This seemed like a perfect recipe for a half-empty stadium, nobody really into the game, and a lot of Ravens fans.

It was actually the exact opposite of that. More than 62,000 showed up, there were hardly any Ravens fans, and the crowd was intense, but in a good way. Everybody seemed to be in a good mood and generally excited to be there. I give all of the credit for that to the giant Pittsburgh duck that was positioned at the point. He just made everybody happy and smile.

I mean, how could he not? Just look at him.

We could see him from our seats, and that made me smile.

I also smiled at the guy outside the stadium that was dressed in a duck costume and drinking a beer through his giant duck head. Seriously, though, everybody loved that duck, and since it was his last day in Pittsburgh there was a huge crowd of people gathering at the point to see him, and when combined with the normal traffic of a Steeler game, it could have very easily resulted in anarchy in the streets of Pittsburgh. I was in town the day he arrived and it took me an hour to drive one city block and I couldn’t find a place to park. We were afraid a similar traffic jam was awaiting us on Sunday, but were somehow lucky enough to be one of the last 10 cars to get a space in our usual garage. Had we not found that space and timed it just right we would probably still be driving around the city looking for a place to park.

But that wasn’t our greatest accomplishment on Sunday. No, that was successfully making it through a game without having somebody throw something at me. If you will recall our last View From 522 I told the story of a rather intoxicated couple that were ultimately thrown out, in part because of a coffee cup that was thrown at me. That didn’t repeat itself this week, but we did have some other interesting business going on.

There were four guys seating directly in front of us (one of them a semi-regular) and they were seated next to two girls — one a Steelers fan, the other a Ravens fan. The Ravens fan and one of the guys in front of us (a guy that tucked his jersey into his jeans) seemed to hit it off. After spending most of the first quarter exchanging playful jabs and throwing peanut shells at each other (the latter was mildly annoying) they eventually switched seats in the second quarter so they could sit next to each other. By the end of the quarter they were practically making out with each other. They disappeared for most of the second half and didn’t return until there were two minutes left in the game. They had no idea what the score was, who had the ball, or what was going on. I can’t recall for sure, but I’m pretty sure his jersey was no longer tucked in.

I’m pretty sure that’s the great American love story in 2013.

As for the game … hey, where did that Steelers running game come from? Maybe the offensive line is getting better. Maybe Baltimore’s defensive line isn’t what it used to be. But either way, the Le’Veon Bell was finding huge holes to run through and he was showing some outstanding patience. The only thing anybody had to complain about was the guy in line for the bathroom after the game that was complaining about Mike Tomlin not letting Bell get 100 yards.

My only real complaint was that the Steelers were running the wild cat. Look, I know it was effective on Sunday, but let’s not make this a staple of the offense. It’s not really the best use of your $100 million quarterback to line him up as a wide receiver so you can direct snap it to your running back. I still wish the Steelers could have finished another drive or two for a touchdown, and they would have had Derek Moye not let a touchdown slip through his hands (that catch he did make when he was flipped upside down was pretty awesome, however).

Let’s talk about the final two minutes, because that was pretty exiting. When the Ravens went down the field and tied the game I was pretty sure the game was destined for overtime, and I kept thinking back to all of those red zone trips that ended with field goals. When Emmanuel Sanders picked up that knuckling kickoff eight years deep and appeared to run it all the way back for a touchdown it was incredible. I couldn’t tell you the last time I heard Heinz Field that loud.

And then they ruled him out at the 34-yard line. If nothing else, it was the most exciting 34-yard kickoff return in Heinz Field history.

In the end, I guess it actually worked out for the best since the Steelers were able to run out the clock and Baltimore’s offense never touched the field again.

Not exactly the way you plan it out, but it’s all good.

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  • Intropy

    Two franchises, alike in dignity,
    In the fair North Shore, where we lay our scene,
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

    • David

      Brilliant. Can’t wait til 4.

  • David

    Gretz, you sure you didn’t get caught looking, like Steve Martin on the bus in Planes, Trains & Automobiles?