What they're saying about the Ravens -- Dec. 6

Here's a look at what other media outlets are saying about the Ravens' 13-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13:

• James Walker of discusses the Steelers' initial thoughts before safety Troy Polamalu's game-changing play in the fourth quarter.


The Steelers said they were anticipating a running play by the Ravens, who already led and could have run more time off the clock. But when Flacco dropped back to pass, Polamalu shot in unblocked on the quarterback's blind side and forced the ball out. Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley recovered and took it to the Baltimore 9, and Pittsburgh took the lead three plays later on a 9-yard touchdown pass to Issac Redman.

Polamalu's well-timed blitz could be the biggest play in Pittsburgh's regular season. It also could be the sequence that gives Pittsburgh at least one postseason game at Heinz Field and potentially a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.


• In a separate entry on the AFC North blog, Walker talks about the Ravens' inability to close a game in the fourth quarter -- again.

What I didn't like: Baltimore collapsed in the fourth quarter. The Ravens seemed in control most of the game and took a touchdown lead into the fourth quarter. But Pittsburgh scored 10 unanswered points in the final period to escape with a win. Baltimore's defense allowed Pittsburgh to drive down the field for the first field goal, and Flacco's fumble set up Pittsburgh's game-winning touchdown. Flacco also short-armed a pass on fourth down that could have set up a field goal. It will be debated whether the Ravens should have tried a field goal with kicker Billy Cundiff to force overtime from Pittsburgh's 32.

• The Sporting News' Dennis Dillon leads the charge of national media praising Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for his performance against the Ravens.

If any respect is handed out, it needs to go first to Roethlisberger. The Steelers quarterback came into the game on one good foot -- he has a broken fifth metatarsal bone on his right foot -- and then sustained a broken nose early in the game. Roethlisberger knew something was wrong when he felt blood running down his face, but the looks of his teammates when he got to the sideline told him it was ugly.

"I look like I just went 12 rounds with (boxer Manny) Pacquiao," Roethlisberger joked.

• Don Banks of also talks about Roethlisberger's toughness to lead the Steelers to the win over the Ravens.

Steelers-Ravens is always a knock-down, drag-out fight, and it always goes 15 rounds. And if anything, Sunday night's outcome at M&T Bank Stadium only reinforced everything we already thought about the ferocious way Pittsburgh and Baltimore play football.

Just ask Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, he of the bloodied and broken nose in the first half, and the game-winning touchdown pass in the final three minutes of the Steelers' gut check of a 13-10 victory over the Ravens. Nothing about the way Pittsburgh played to win this game was remotely novel, but Roethlisberger made one key discovery on this night: You don't pay anywhere near as much attention to the pain in your broken foot once you break your nose.


• David Steele of discusses the way that Ravens fans treated Roethlisberger during the game.

The sold-out Baltimore crowd didn't have this dilemma, as evidenced by their chants twice during the second half, each unfortunately coinciding with a Steelers player laid out injured and being attended to on the field. "No ... Means ... No. No ... Means ... No ...'' the 71,148 roared, loud and unified enough to hear through the thick plexiglass of the press box.

The gimping around and dragging his team to victory didn't make the Ravens faithful forget that Roethlisberger was Public Enemy No. 1 in the NFL last offseason, that he missed the first quarter of this season with a suspension, that criminal charges or not he's pegged by many as a serial sex offender, that his name is still reviled in many quarters of the nationwide fan base, that he's still on probation in many minds for his past misdeeds.

•'s Clark Judge writes about the importance of last night's game in regards to home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Important? You bet. First, the Steelers could use the time off to get some of their wounded players healthy. More important, it puts them -- not Baltimore -- in position to be home for the divisional round of the postseason, and if you don't think that's critical, you must not be familiar with the Ravens' history.

Until Sunday, they had won all their home games this season, their past eight dating back to last season, and 12 of their past 14. Another one Sunday, and they would set a franchise record for consecutive home victories.


•'s Gene Wojciechowski expresses Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's happiness in surviving the battle with the Ravens.

Mike Tomlin stood outside the visitors locker room at M&T Bank Stadium as two Baltimore cops smushed a Pittsburgh Steelers fan's face against a white cinder block wall. The fan, wearing a LaMarr Woodley jersey, began screaming in pain as the cops pulled his arms behind his back and began to lead him away.

"Be cool, buddy," said the Steelers coach. "Tomlin," said the man between screams, "I love you, baby!"

Only minutes removed from the Steelers' crucial 13-10 win against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday evening, Tomlin didn't try hiding a smile. He appreciates effort and passion -- and the apparently over-served fan had both.

•'s Barry Barnes shares some tidbits about the game, including a note about the physicality between the two teams.

The sign of things to come, injury-wise, came on the opening play from scrimmage. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw a deep pass down the middle of the field to tight end Todd Heap. The pass was incomplete, but Heap injured a hamstring on the play. Later in the game, in addition to Roethlisberger's injury, the Steelers also lost tight end Heath Miller to a concussion after a big hit by Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain, and offensive tackle Flozell Adams, who left the game with an apparent ankle injury.


• As the Houston Chronicle's John McClain points out, the Houston Texans are going to be well rested for next Monday's matchup against the Ravens.

The Texans (5-7) are two games out of first place in the AFC South with four to play. Even though they've lost five of six since they started 4-2, there is some good news: Tight end Owen Daniels returns after missing the last five games because of a hamstring injury.

The long layoff between games also should give other injured players time to recover. Receiver Andre Johnson (ankle) and defensive end Mario Williams (sports hernia) have been playing with injuries. Dreessen (ribs) and guard Mike Brisiel (shoulder) should use the extra time to be ready for the Ravens.

[Compiled by Dean Jones Jr.]