First Call: Ed Reed’s ‘Steelers week’ speech to Ravens; Mark Melancon meltdown |
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Tim Benz

In “First Call” Friday, the Ravens get a “Steelers Week” pep talk from a franchise legend. Mark Melancon melted down. What other teams are doing to Aaron Donald.

Bring out the big guns

Some have bemoaned the fact that so many of the players who laid the foundation of the Steelers-Ravens rivalry have retired or moved on to other teams.

Well, one of those players in Baltimore came back to Ravens practice to remind their players how important the rivalry is.

Five-time All-Pro safety Ed Reed gave a mid-week speech to fire up the Birds before they fly up to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

“Trust me. They hate you!”

He’s right. We do! Yes. The whole city.

The two things I noticed about that video?

Ed Reed still listens to “Renegade” in his iPod to get himself fired up? That is some deep-seated motivation!

Did you see the guy wearing the Black and Gold Jaylen Samuels jersey? Looks like the Ravens must be spending some practice time getting ready for the wildcat, just like John Harbaugh promised.

That went poorly

Quite a few former Pirates have been shining heading into the playoffs.

Austin Meadows and Gerrit Cole leap to mind. Charlie Morton already won the American League Wild Card Game. And Washington’s Daniel Hudson saved the National League Wild Card Game.

Things didn’t go quite as well for former Pirates closer Mark Melancon in Atlanta on Thursday. The Cardinals beat the Braves, 7-6, in Game 1 of their NLDS matchup.

With the game tied 3-3 in the top of the ninth, Melancon allowed four runs on five hits and two walks. Fans let him have it on social media.

Melancon summed up his bad outing after the defeat.

To make matters more painful, Atlanta stormed back in the bottom of the ninth with three runs. But Melancon put them in such a deep hole, the Braves couldn’t catch up.

Hey! You’re not off the hook!

Melancon isn’t the only Braves player taking heat.

So is Ronald Acuna Jr. The young leadoff hitter homered, singled and doubled.

It’s the single that has people mad, though. Here’s why.

Acuna watched the ball thinking it was a homer and couldn’t make it past first base. Then Acuna got doubled off second base on a line drive. Acuna did the same thing during the regular season, and he got benched for it.

Teammates such as Freddie Freeman weren’t thrilled.

Acuna’s explanation didn’t exactly own the action like Melancon’s did.

Game 2 of the series is Friday at 4:37 p.m.

A highlight lock

Two weeks in a row, the Thursday night NFL game has been very entertaining. Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles outlasted the Green Bay Packers, 34-27.

This week, the Seattle Seahawks outscored the division rival Los Angeles Rams, 30-29. And Seattle’s Tyler Lockett made this tremendous touchdown catch along the way.

That reminds me of something. What was it?

Yup. That was it.

Lockett wound up with 51 yards on four catches.

Donald down

Former Pitt star Aaron Donald failed to get a sack again in that game for the Rams. He only has one on the season.

Maybe this is why.

Yeah. Getting triple-teamed is going to hurt your cause as a pass rusher. Look at what happens when you only throw two guys at Donald. Watch him blow by Seattle’s offensive guard and running back here.

Donald had 20 1/2 sacks a year ago.

Back home again

It’s been almost a month since the Duquesne football team had a home game.

They beat Walsh, 44-3, in the season opener Sept. 7.

Since then, the Dukes beat Dayton, while losing to New Hampshire and Youngstown State.

The Dukes host Long Island in the NEC opener at noon on Saturday. Jerry Schmitt’s club won the conference last year.

The Sharks are in their first season competing at the Division I level in football in the NEC following the consolidation of Long Island-Brooklyn and Post athletic departments prior to the 2019-20 academic year.

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