View Full Version : Defense propels Steelers to AFCCG

01-16-2011, 10:42 AM
The Steelers' defense launched a second-half rally that defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 31-24, and put the Steelers into the AFC Championship Game.


PITTSBURGH – Brett Keisel (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835646) could laugh at the question after the game, but certainly not during the first half of the game. Few at Heinz Field could. Keisel was asked if it had helped the Steelers to pick up a Pro Bowler before the game.
Of course, Keisel had just been added to the Pro Bowl roster. It was announced to the home crowd just after the Baltimore Ravens (http://bal.scout.com/) had taken a 14-7 lead.
That lead eventually reached 21-7, before a stunning second-half rally – launched by the Steelers’ defense – resulted in a 31-24 Steelers win.
“They announced it right after they scored,” said Keisel. “I’m sitting there pissed off on the sideline. I wanted to stand up and blow the crowd kisses but I really couldn’t.”
The Steelers weren’t in the mood to blow anyone kisses as they filed into the locker room down by two touchdowns.
It was a quiet locker room, a frustrated locker room. But defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau gathered his troops and spoke in a measured tone.
“He just showed us on a piece of paper how they scored, from where they scored, showed us how many big plays they had,” said Casey Hampton (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835637). “And when you looked at it, they didn’t have any. So we knew that we just had to do what we had to do. There was no panic.”
The Steelers had allowed only 98 yards in the first half, yet trailed 21-7 because of a couple of turnovers and a 33-yard pass interference penalty.
“We knew they couldn’t sustain a drive on us,” Hampton said. “We had to do what we had to do. Everybody had to stay on their keys.”
And the Ravens gained only 28 yards in the second half.
How’s that for reading the keys?
“We got hot in the third quarter,” said James Farrior (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835632). “I think we rattled (Joe) Flacco a little bit and got him out of his game. Our pressure was outstanding for the whole second half. I think that made a big difference.”
The Steelers, who had no sacks in the first half, had five in the second. The first, by James Harrison (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835639) with help from Keisel, occurred on Baltimore’s first snap. And after Ziggy Hood stuffed Ray Rice (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4877880), Flacco threw a checkdown to Rice. The Steelers were looking for it – per their game plan – and Ryan Clark (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4839238) forced a fumble that LaMarr Woodley (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835677) recovered. Two plays later, the Ravens’ lead was cut in half.
A three-and-out was followed by another doomed Ravens series. On the first play, from the Baltimore 10, Troy Polamalu (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835659) snuck to the edge. Flacco spotted him, checked off, and threw deep. The pass was intercepted by Clark and the Steelers tied the game four plays later.
With 1:10 left in Baltimore’s abominable third quarter, Flacco fumbled a center snap and Keisel recovered. The Steelers kicked a field goal and the momentum was all theirs.
In the third quarter, the Ravens ran 10 plays, lost 4 yards, and had 2 turnovers.
“I think he might’ve got a little shook up,” Harrison said of Flacco. “When you’ve got guys hitting you from every angle, and you’re not really getting a clean look at anything, yeah, I think it might’ve shook him a little.”
When pressed for particular defensive standouts, Keisel praised Hood and Farrior credited Clark. But Clark said the comeback had everything to do with team.
“The biggest thing is that we play for each other,” Clark said. “It was embarrassing. All this talk about a 3-point game all the time and it’s always close, but we were getting blown out. I think the biggest thing was coming out and playing for each other. And then we made some plays.”

By Jim Wexell
Posted Jan 15, 2011

Gotta give LeBeau and the D a standing ovation for their performance!! It was a fluke play for a TD and a PI call that gave the Ratbirds the lead, not the Ratbirds. From the beginning to the end they couldn't do anything against our defense. :cope::cope::cope:

01-16-2011, 10:46 AM
Great article DIESELMAN! I really thought early on that DL was being outcoached by Cameron with those screens and draws coming at the right times. I realize some of that was due to our turnovers, but Cam had his number early and then..... Holy crap!! DL clearly made some adjustments and the pressure was just coming in waves! Just another reason as to why he is truly the Godfather of the 3-4.:tt02: