Ravens believe they handed the Steelers the game
It will go down in the record books as a 13-10 Steelers win over Baltimore.
But the Ravens will always view it as something else.
“I'm sure they would like to say they took it with the turnover at the end,” receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. “We gave them the game. Y'all watched the game. Y'all know that. They know that.”
Troy Polamalu's strip sack of Joe Flacco on a 2nd-and-5 play with a little more than three minutes left in 10-6 game led to the game-winning touchdown and left the Ravens stunned.
“We gave it to them,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said.
Instead of having control of the division with four games left, the Ravens are now sitting in the sixth and final wildcard spot in the AFC.
“Obviously it is a tough loss,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. “Basically, we gave the game away in the end. We should've won the football game and that's disappointing.”
It's been an all too familiar sight for the Ravens against the Steelers.
All four of their wins since 2008 over the Ravens have come by four points or fewer. And the one before that prevented Baltimore from going to the Super Bowl.
“We are sick,” linebacker Jarrett Johnson said. “We felt good the whole game and feel confident about the win and all of a sudden it is over and they are kneeling. I am pretty disappointed right now.”
“We shouldn't have lost the game how we lost it,” Houshmandzadeh added.
With the Ravens clinging to a 10-6 lead late in the game, Polamalu creeped to the line of scrimmaged and blitzed from the right side.
Left tackle Michael Oher slid to the inside and running back Ray Rice crossed the formation to pick up the blitzing Lawrence Timmons.
Polamalu came free and knocked the ball out of Flacco's hands. LaMarr Woodley picked the ball up and returned it to the 9.
“Is that something new?” Suggs said. “Polamalu at the line of scrimmage• You can't give their defense opportunities to make plays.”
Suggs had a bad feeling when he saw Polamalu sneaking to the line of scrimmage.
“It was like ‘Man, I hope we have a plan' because it didn't feel good when I saw that hair at the line of scrimmage,” Suggs said.
Flacco didn't see Polamalu coming. He took a three-step drop and was going for a pass in the flat when he was hit.
“I took three steps and raised my arm and just got hit,” Flacco said. “I was pretty shocked to see it myself.”
Oher, who is battling a right knee injury, wasn't sure what happened on the play.
“I don't know, we have to go watch film on it,” Oher said. “We have to account for 43 at all times. We can't let him get out of our sight. We have to see what we did wrong. The guy is a heck of a football player. He is so good at disguising a lot of things.”
Baltimore has games left with Houston, New Orleans, Cleveland and Cincinnati. They have a stranglehold on a wild card spot at 8-4.
“We have to regroup and hopefully we learned something,” safety Chris Carr said. “You can't gloat after a win and can't go in the tank after a loss. We are going to lose some sleep over this one but we will be over it on Tuesday.”
The Steelers have games left with Cincinnati, N.Y. Jets, Carolina and Cleveland.
“Hopefully we can get some help,” Houshmandzadeh said.
Steelers vs. Ravens 12⁄5/10
Steelers defeat the Ravens, 13-10, Sunday December 5, 2010 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
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