World War III
Random Rantings by PalmerSucks
So this is it -- round 3 in what they�re billing as the nastiest, dirtiest, hard-hittingest game around. Ray-Ray and Harrison, Suggs and
Don't buy it for a minute. Oh sure, there'll be hits, and knowing the Ravens, some late ones -- but this time things should be different. Because World War 3 should be more like Murder 1. This time it shouldn't come down to the wire -- this time the Pittsburgh Steelers should play their brand of football, and kick these purple pretenders� asses all the way back to Crabtown.
Why? Because the Baltimore Ravens are a mirage, a fraud, a three-dollar bill, running on fumes and smoke to go with the mirrors on the sides of their helmets. Just separate the hype from the facts, and you�ll see.
Take all the arguments for
MYTH: You can't beat a team three times in one season.
Oh yeah? Go ask a
That may have been true back in '00, but this year's unit doesn't compare. Lost in all the media hoopla is the fact that
MYTH: The Ravens can win with a rookie QB provided he keeps on playing the way he has.
You can read all the lengthy match up analysis you want, but really, this game comes down to one simple concept: making the Ravens pay for sending a rookie quarterback into the playoffs.
Week after week, I mock the Ravens for playing Hide the Quarterback, and week after week they make me look bad. But how? How have they pulled off this trick?
Part of it is the luck of the draw. By placing last in the playoffs, the Ravens got to face
Game 2 with the tough Titans should have been a problem for Joke, but instead the
Likewise, once again Flacco got the gushy post-game praise, much to my disgust. Crediting Flacco for that win is like throwing a ticker-tape parade for the PX sergeant. I wouldn't even call Joke a "game manager" after that one -- more like a game gawker, watching the other team shoot itself in the foot once again.
And the more you look at what the Ravens have pulled off, the more amazing it gets:
Joe Flacco (2 playoff games)
That last number is even more startling: for 2 entire playoff games Flacco's been safer than a termite in a redwood forest. That's beyond incredible -- that's absurd! The Ravens can't be allowed to coddle and cuddle their rookie QB like this again; not if the Stillers want to find themselves playing again in a couple weeks.
You've no doubt heard all the media drooling over Flacco. Now look at the numbers:
FLACK IS WACK
WK Game Date Opp Result G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck SckY Rate Att Yds Avg TD FUM Lost
18 01/04 @ MIA W 27-9 1 1 9 23 39.1 135 5.9 0 0 0 0 59.1 5 8 1.6 1 -- --
19 01/10 @ TEN W 13-10 1 1 11 22 50.0 161 7.3 1 0 0 0 89.4 5 5 1.0 0 -- --
TOTALS 2 2 20 45 44.4 296 6.6 1 0 0 0 73.9 10 13 1.3 1 0 0
The two key stats: Flacco is completing a whopping 44 percent of his passes, for a sickly 6.6 YPA. His 73.9 rating should be good enough to lose most games -- yet here are the Ravens, one game away from the Super Bowl. Joke REALLY lamed it up against
The Ravens have an interesting way of protecting Flacco; rather than just give him safe dump offs, they often let him throw deep, on non-pressure downs. The TD he threw against the Titans was a prime example. Reviewing the play, I saw the Ravens send 4 guys on go routes -- Flacco only had to read the safety, and throw it where he wasn't. Not only that, but the Ravens' WR, Mason, practically jogged downfield in order to give Flacco as much margin of error as possible.
This butt-basic play paid off big, and the Steelers can't afford to get caught by the same training-wheels tactics.
As much as people make of Flacco's big arm, the fact is his pass was underthrown: it was Mason's slow-up that made the play work. Not only that, but the safety looked like a geriatric in his wheel chair getting over to help. Again, the Ravens get away with murder!
The big compliment for Flacco is "he doesn't make mistakes." That's EXACTLY why the Ravens should get bounced this week. You win in the playoffs by making hero plays, rather than not merely screwing up. Of all people, Stillers fans should know this. How painfully ironic would it be to watch the Stillers get beat by the same Cowher playoff ball we suffered through for years?
No team should get to the Super Bowl by going into a shell and counting on the other guys to make mistakes. The rookie QB and his rookie head coach must pay the price for their inexperience. This is the Stillers� mission, should they choose to accept.
By the way, am I the only one not impressed by Joke and the
From the profootballtalk site --
Count Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth as officially frustrated and angry after being dismissed from the playoffs by the Baltimore Ravens, a team whose offense he ripped in the wake of their 13-10 AFC divisional playoff victory Saturday in
Haynesworth took a few shots at the Ravens� offense. Plus, he�s not too happy with how the Titans� offense played.
�I think their offense is weak,� Haynesworth told Tim Graham of ESPN.com. �I don�t think they have much of an offense. We shut down the run. We shut down pretty much the pass. They had about two or three pass plays and that�s it. We gave them a lot of stuff. The offense gave the ball away and kept them in the game.�
Note his point: guard against the 2 or 3 big pass plays Flacco's capable of making per game, and you can pretty much shut down the
So what will it take for Joke to finally choke? For starters, we have this little item from the
Ravens coach John Harbaugh decided to practice outdoors yesterday in Owings Mills in the 28-degree weather. According to weather.com, the forecast for Sunday evening's game at Heinz Field is temperatures in the low 20s, with light winds reaching up to 7mph. The Ravens will "play it by ear" on whether to continue practicing outside or in their indoor field house this week, Harbaugh said. "It's a beautiful day out there right now," Harbaugh said. "So, we're looking forward to getting out there and running around a little bit." Said quarterback Joe Flacco: "I've never played in weather that cold, but I'm not really planning on it being too much of a factor."
Is it me, or does he sound a lot like Tony Romo here? We'll know Sunday, should Joe do the same kind of dash to the hot-fan the first chance he gets.
Making Them Pay
A few years ago, the New England Patriots made the Steelers pay for having a rookie QB play in the AFC Championship Game. It's up to the Stillers now to return the favor, this time to the Baltimore Ravens.
The first two games have been played Ravens' style: low-scoring brawls that have kept Flacco from having to play as big a part as a QB should. This time the Steelers' need to play it their way: hard hitting yes, but making use of their more explosive offense. In other words, take the scoring at least into the 20s rather than down into the teens.
For me, one played summed up this Ravens' playoff run perfectly: a 37-yard "bomb" from Flacco that was so badly underthrown, it made both Tennessee defenders fall down (no doubt laughing) on the play. Instead of a sure interception, the Ravens WR stood there all alone, and hauled in the uncontested catch. A few plays later
So far, the playoffs have worked out big-time in the Stillers' favor; Mike Tomlin & Co. may never have the table set so perfectly again. The Stillers CANNOT allow some rookie QB to block their way to
If the Ravens can ugly down another game, keep everyone coughing it up and kicking field goals, they can win and steal their way into Super Bowl XLIII. It says here they won�t: Stillers 24, Baltimore 9. Or something like that.
- I said in the previous commentary the Stillers would "waltz" into the Super Bowl should they muster up a decent running game. Watching Parker operate behind a fullback was a treat -- but the Stillers' TEs did a nice job of blocking too.
I doubt the Stillers run it this week like they did against the Chargers, but my original claim stands: average 3.5 a pop or better, and you've done enough to support your QB to let him make the PASSING plays that win playoff games.
- How'd my "Steelers by at least 2 TDs over the Chargers" dream prediction go? I was one Limas Sweed drop from the roses. Oh well. By the way, take it easy on Sweed; he's simply one of the many rookies who need that first year under their belts before they can function as professionals. I remember a lot of nasty things being said about a rook by the name of Troy Polamalu -- and he turned out all right.
- How'd my nomination of Holmes to be the step-up player of the game turn out? Next time watch out for him to do it at receiver.
- Reviewing the tape of the first Steelers-Chargers tilt, I noticed something extraordinary: Justin Hartwig was taking on Jamal Williams singlehandedly! That's not supposed to happen. However it did -- and if it could happen a second time, the Steelers o-line would be blowing the
- Will they call holding this time, finally? If so the Ravens are in trouble. Last week James Harrison got held like a drunk girl at a fraternity party, maybe even worse than in the first Chargers� tilt. And got away with it too. That, I think, is all that stood between Philip Rivers and not finishing the game.
- The decison to go for it on 4th and goal was 100 percent the right call. All that lacked was the execution. If
- Professor Palmersucks says: Russell + Fullback = Short-Yardage TD
- Speaking of Hartwig, turns out he's been the star pickup of the season. I'll take the trade-off of Hartwig for Mahan and Kemo for Faneca any day of the week. Word is Hartwig's been hosting some skull sessions at his place for the 0-line; wonder how many times Mahan did that last year?
- Speaking of
- Lamarr Woodley: two playoff games, four sacks. The real pros get it done in the playoffs.
- Thing to be practicing for Sunday: running downfield and having defenders try to rip the ball out of your hands.
I just wanted to end this with something you may not be thinking about: imagine if Modell had never moved his team out of
Until next time, this is PalmerSucks, and this is what I say.
(The views of PalmerSucks are not necessarily those of Stillers.com � but should be.)