Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 1 vs. Ravens
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On a day in which it was difficult to find any standout performance, Taylor did what he was asked to do -- shut down Baltimore's new deep threat, Lee Evans. Evans did not catch a pass despite being targeted four times by QB Joe Flacco. Taylor was not only playing for the first time since he broke his left thumb in the preseason opener; he was playing with a protective cast on his thumb. His only mistake: A 15-yard penalty for head-butting T Michael Oher after the play in the third quarter, giving the Ravens a first down.
X's AND O's
The Steelers overcame a 21-7 halftime deficit in the 2010 AFC championship game when the Ravens had turnovers on three consecutive possessions to start the second half. This time, trailing 21-7 at halftime, it was the Steelers who had turnovers on the first three possessions of the second half to end any hope of another comeback. Rashard Mendenhall's bobbled handoff and Roethlisberger's two interceptions resulted in 11 points and a 32-7 deficit. "That was big-time," said C Maurkice Pouncey.
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. BOBBLED START: Trailing 21-7 at halftime, RB Rashard Mendenhall fumbled a bobbled handoff from Ben Roethlisberger on the first play from their 24. The Ravens wasted little time capitalizing on the mistake, scoring on an 18-yard pass from QB Joe Flacco to TE Ed Dickson on the next play to make it 29-7. It was the first of six turnovers on seven possessions in the second half. "You can't start like that, not here in Baltimore," said WR Hines Ward.
2. RICE SETS THE TONE: On the first play of the game, RB Ray Rice ran between LB James Harrison and S Troy Polamalu for a 36-yard gain to the Steelers 30, setting up Joe Flacco's 27-yard TD to Anquan Boldin two plays later. "From the first play, they stepped on the gas pedal," said LB James Farrior.
3.REED'S DEEDS: After intercepting him just once in nine previous games, Ravens S Ed Reed had two interceptions against Roethlisberger, each coming inside the red zone in the second half. Reed has 56 career interceptions, most among active players.
4. QUITE A TURNAROUND: After going the entire preseason without a turnover, the Steelers committed seven against the Ravens -- four fumbles and three interceptions by Roethlisberger. "It's humbling and embarrassing to give up seven turnovers," said RT Willie Colon.
5. SUGGS DOES IT AGAIN: Ravens DE Terrell Suggs was his usual one-man wrecking crew, registering three sacks and forcing two fumbles -- none bigger than when he stripped Roethlisberger to set up the second TD. "He's a great player, one of the best," Roethlisberger said. "He's all over the field."
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
That's the number of games the Steelers had gone without allowing a 100-yard rusher, a streak that ended when Rice finished with 107 yards on 19 carries. Rice was the previous player to top 100 yards against them when he ran for 141 yards on 30 carries on Dec. 27, 2009.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
Ravens coach John Harbaugh appeared to be rubbing it in when he ran a fake extra-point after the fourth touchdown. P Sam Koch, the holder, took the snap and ran into the end zone. Then, leading 29-7, Harbaugh eschewed a field goal on fourth-and-1 that would have made it a four-possession game for the Ravens. The decision proved unwise when Rice was stopped for a 1-yard loss by OLB James Harrison. "I don't feel like anything they did was rubbing it in," Farrior said. "You can't stop them, that's your fault."
"They whupped us. They didn't beat us, they whupped us. I don't ever remember getting whupped like this since I've been here. It was embarrassing the way we got beat. And it's not that it was the first game. It was the first game for them, too."
-- Casey Hampton, Steelers nose tackle
NEXT SUNDAY'S OPPONENT
STEELERS VS. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 1 P.M. SUNDAY: The Steelers open their home schedule Sunday against the Seahawks. The teams have met just once since Super Bowl XL in Detroit -- a 21-0 Steelers victory at home in 2007.
Wk.Date Opponent Time TV
1 9/11at BaltimoreL, 35-7
2 9/18vs. Seattle1 p.m. WPGH
3 9/25at Indianapolis8:20 p.m. WPXI
5 10/2at Houston1 p.m. KDKA
4 10/9vs. Tennessee1 p.m. KDKA
6 10/16vs. Jacksonville1 p.m. KDKA
7 10/23at Arizona4:05 p.m. KDKA
8 10/30vs. New England4:15 p.m. KDKA
9 11/6vs. Baltimore8:20 p.m. WPXI
Wk.Date Opponent Time TV
10 11/13at Cincinnati1 p.m. KDKA
12 11/27at Kansas City8:20 p.m. WPXI
13 12/4vs. Cincinnati1 p.m. KDKA
14 12/8vs. Cleveland8:20 p.m. NFL
15 12/19at San Francisco8:30 p.m. ESPN
16 12/24vs. St. Louis1 p.m. WPGH
17 1/1vs Cleveland1 p.m. KDKA
First Published September 12, 2011 12:00 am