Half of a game is done and the Ravens lead 10-7 and have scored 10 straight points and held the Steelers to just 64 yards after their 80 yard game opening TD drive. Here is where we stand.
-The first half was a bit of a bloodbath. in addition to the teams already missing starters Ray Lewis, Troy Polomalu, Ben Roethlisberger, Lardarius Webb, Bobbie Williams, Jimmy Smith and Marcus Gilbert, The first half has already featured injuries to Dennis Pitta(Concussion, Out), Iasic Redman (Concussion, Out), Ziggy Hood(Back, Questionable), Byron Leftwich(Shoulder, was never evaluated) . Of course, no one really expected a nice clean game with no injuries did they?
-The Steelers are wearing their ridiculous bumble bee uniforms tonight. its a bit tough to watch without throwing up. any votes on which is worse, the Steelers prison uniforms or the Broncos horrible yellow and brown duds? There is a poll over on the side of the page to cast your votes.
– The Steelers first drive was a thing of beauty if you are a Steelers fan, they marched right down the field and went 80 yards in 2 plays thanks in large part to a 42 yard pass interferece call against Cary Williams. The call was close and Williams really had no choice but to grab Mike Wallaces arm on the play, aside from that first play of the game Williams has been terrific yet again this week. He has really stepped up his game this year.
-Byron Leftwich has an injury worth watching, especially if he starts getting hit later in the game. Leftwich scored the games first TD on a 31 yard run, but he immediately grabbed his shoulder as he got up off the ground. he has reached and held his shoulder repeatedly in the first half and has been throwing balls on the sideline every time the Ravens offense is on the field to stay warm. This isn’t much of a story right now, but it could become one deeper in the game.
-The Ravens offense started slow but heated up as the game went on. they haven’t had any really big time drives yet, but they have been very close to breaking one off on multiple occasions.
-The Ravens best drive in the early goings was ended with a missed FG by Justin Tucker. It was Tuckers second miss of the season and it came on a 41 yarder into the open end of Heinz Field, tough kick.
-On a couple of occasions it has seemed like Joe Flacco has tried to force a pass into Torrey Smith. I haven’t seen it as bad with the other receivers but Flacco needs to expand his vision. Dick Labeu will have noticed this and he will have players tailing Torrey in the second half to scoop up any tipped passes or errant throws that have been forced where they don’t belong. Getting the Ball into Smiths hands definately should be a priority, but forcing passes against the Steelers is never a good Idea.
-Jacoby Jones…what more can you say about this guy. Jones had his 3rd return TD of the season, this time on a punt. Jones broke a couple tackles in the return and he beat the Punter to the corner of the endzone to sneak in. Jones has brought some much needed stability to the Ravens special teams. Last season the return game was cringe worthy and easily the worst unit on the team. over the past five weeks the return unit might be the best unit on the team and the Ravens collective special teams units might be the best in the NFL. Jones, Justin Tucker and Anthony Allen have made all the difference.
-The Ravens secondary has made some mistakes in zone coverage. twice the Steelers had wide open receivers with no one anywhere close to them. The Ravens need to fix their zone coverage lapses. these were clearly communication issues.
-The two teams started a combined 0-9 on third down conversions. the Ravens then took a big step in the right direction converting several opportunities, the Steelers finished 1-8.
-Funniest moment of the half, by far, The guys talking about Ellerbe playing with 2 broken thumbs about 10 seconds before an interception goes right through his hands and he looks at Jameel McClain and holds out his casted hands and laughs about not making the catch. classic stuff.
-In non-Ravens-Steelers news, Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots has broken his forearm and will be out for the next 4-6 weeks. This is a pretty massive blow to the Patriots offense.