As everyone knows, the Steelers and Ravens play on Thanksgiving night this year, less than 48 hours from now. This rivalry may be my single most favorite thing in sports. I live for these games, as do many Steelers fans. I don’t think there’s any question that this has been the best rivalry in sports in recent years.
Some of my personal favorite games in this rivalry:
- The game in Baltimore in September 2004, when a rookie quarterback had to take over for an injured Tommy Maddox. The Steelers lost that game, but wouldn’t lose another one until January and Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie season would become one for the history books.
- The Monday Night Football game on Halloween 2005 in Pittsburgh. The Steelers took a 17-10 lead into the 4th quarter, but the Ravens kicked three field goals to pull ahead 19-17. The Steelers got the ball back with just over 3 minutes to go and Jeff Reed kicked the game winner with less than 2 minutes to play. The Ravens couldn’t do anything when they got the ball back, and the Steelers won 20-19.
- Another Monday Night Football game in November 2007 in Pittsburgh. Rain poured for the entire game and the Steelers put on a clinic. Ben threw five touchdown passes and was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. James Harrison had 3.5 sacks and an interception and was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
- MNF in September 2008 in Pittsburgh. The Steelers trailed 13-3 at the half and were famously booed off the field by the Heinz Field crowd. They held the Ravens to one touchdown in the second half, and won the game 23-20 in overtime.
- The 2008 AFC Championship Game. At one point, the Steelers led 13-0, but the Ravens scored some points and the Steelers wound up being up by only two points with about seven minutes to go in the game. The Ravens had the ball, and it looked like they would easily be able to take the lead with at least a field goal. Then Troy happened and the Steelers punched their ticket to Super Bowl XLIII.
- The Sunday Night Football game in Baltimore in December 2010. Ben played with a broken nose and a broken foot, and managed to avoid a Terrell Suggs sack in one of the most unreal plays I’ve ever witnessed. Troy Polamalu had a strip sack of Joe Flacco. Isaac Redman shrugged off defenders for the Steelers only touchdown with 3 minutes left in the game. Steelers won 13-10.
- The 2010 AFC Divisional Game in Pittsburgh. The Steelers trailed 21-7 at halftime and it looked certain that they’d be eliminated from the playoffs. They came out sharp in the second half, with the defense forcing three turnovers in the 3rd quarter. Antonio Brown would catch a 58-yard pass with two minutes left in the game to set up a Rashard Mendenhall touchdown that clinched the game for the Steelers. Never before or since have I seen Heinz Field as loud as it was during the second half of this game. When AB caught that ball the stadium literally shook.
- The game in Baltimore last December. Ben missed both games last season, and the game in Baltimore would be Charlie Batch’s final NFL start. The game was tied at 20 with about six minutes to go in the game. Charlie Batch went 5-for-5 on his final NFL drive to set up the game-winning field goal with three seconds remaining. Great ending for the Steelers long-time backup quarterback.
Some photos and highlights from some of these games:
The Santonio Catch:
Remember when Ben did this? I still don’t know how he exactly how he did it. Just unreal.
Highlights from the 2010 AFC Divisional Game. (I love Deion Sanders in that clip–“How you gonna allow them to beat you on 3rd and 19 in the playoffs?! Unbelievable.)
Highlights from the Charlie Batch game:
If you’re a Steelers fan and don’t get a little emotional when you see this photo, you may be dead inside.
This is why Joe Flacco has nightmares about Troy Polamalu:
I take it back. THIS is why Joe Flacco has nightmares about Troy Polamalu:
(I can’t watch the above clip without hearing Jon Hamm’s voice saying “If you’re Troy Polamalu, you cut back. On the way to the end zone–and the Super Bowl.” Seriously, if you haven’t seen the 2008 America’s Game, go watch it right now. I think I may have it memorized, because I am sick woman who used to watch it at least once a month.)
Remember this bizarre handshake? Somebody didn’t pay enough attention to John Harbaugh as child.
And Tomlin and Ben look like this: