There were plenty of things we could have called this one. The "Monday Night Massacre" would have fit nicely, as would the "Prime Time Pounding," the "Three River Ripping," or the "Steel City Shitty Bed." Maybe even more fitting than all of those would be the "Wow, the Ravens really stink" game. In the end, though, our hated rivals got their revenge on the purple and black, atoning for last year's 31-7 and 27-0 Ravens wins with a 38-7 smack down of their own. The payback couldn't have worked out any better for the Steelers, who were able to completely embarrass the Ravens on national television, pulling the rug out from under them and sending B-More's already shaky "playoff contender" house of cards crashing to the rain-soaked earth.
The night started innocently enough, as the Ravens forced Pittsburgh to punt on their first possession, then managed to convert a 3rd-and-6 for what would end up being their only first down of the 1st half, and one of just five on the night. However, 3 plays later, after initially eluding blitzing LB James Harrison, Steve McNair seemed to completely forget Harrison was there, dropping the ball to throw it right as Harrison caught back up and sacked him, forcing McNair into his league leading 5th lost fumble. As a result, the Steelers started their drive at the B-More 20. The Ravens bottled up Willie Parker on consecutive runs to set up a 3rd-and-7, which was where the night really turned downhill quickly. Trevor Pryce busted through the Pissburgh line, and had Baby Ben Toothlessburger all wrapped up for what should have forced a long field goal attempt in windy, rainy conditions. Instead, Pryce was unable to secure the quarterback, surely due in part to the cast he was wearing on his surgically repaired wrist, and Frankenburger's overgrown, corn-fed, motorcycle crashing a** was able to skip free, run outside the pocket, and find tight end Heath Miller in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. It was a scene that played over and over last night, with the Ravens forcing the Steelers into passing situations, pressuring the quarterback, but then being unable to seal the deal and watching as another Steelers receiver ran completely free through the inexperienced and overmatched secondary. Five times in the first 29 minutes of playing time the Steelers were able to find the end zone through the air. Only a 33 yard touchdown scamper from Willis McGahee saved what likely would have been a Steel Town shutout, making the score 35-7 at the half.
Has anyone else noticed that Hines Ward looks like a middle-aged Korean woman these days? Or is it just us? Hit someone else while they're not looking, big man.
Hines Ward: Happy to hit you when you're not looking
In this week's poll, the Nest is asking you all to help us choose a new nickname for Steve McNair. Its all in fun, but unfortunately the reality is that for the Ravens to have any chance at all this season, his name is going to have to be something along the lines of "Former Ravens Starting Quarterback" Steve McNair. "Error" McNair was absolutely atrocious again last night. If he or the team has decided to try to hide some injury that he has, it needs to stop. If this is Steve healthy, he needs to retire, like yesterday. It is obvious that his body cannot do the things that he has come to expect, and he looks tired, old, and washed up. At one point in last night's game, he managed to underthrow a zero yard pass! The Ravens longest completion of the night was NINE yards! And, to put a big fat bow on the gift of futility McNair has bestowed upon Ravens nation, Steve set an NFL record for the fewest passing yards (63) in a game by a quarterback in which he has at least 13 completions.
For the game:
13 of 22 for 63 yards, one interception, and two fumbles (one lost).
For the season:
116 of 179 for 985 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, 5 lost fumbles
Brian Billick has stated that Steve McNair remains his starting quarterback, an assertion that should give Ravens fans night terrors. The Coach needs to take a long, hard look at himself and his team moving forward, as the Ravens have now laid their second straight absolute turd in a big game coming off a bye week (Last year vs. IND being the previous). We do not claim to know the answers, and we will certainly stick by our team through this rough patch. There is no denying, however, that something needs to change, and fast.