I could tell you that the Baltimore Ravens played the game of their lives yesterday in beating their hated rivals from western Pennsylvania. I could say that in beating the Pittsburgh Steelers by the score of 20-17 that it was like the Super Bowl for the team. And while I could say all that, it wouldn’t necessarily be true in either case.
That said, it was a win, and with wins being rare in this otherwise forgettable season, the fans of the purple and black will take it. That it was over the Steelers made it all the sweeter. But it wasn’t exactly a lights out performance. Again, there were way too many penalties, none more glaring than Courtney Upshaw’s offsides penalty on a play where cornerback Jimmy Smith returned an interception 101 yards for a touchdown. That play could have possibly sealed the victory, but of course, with this year’s team, it couldn’t be quite that easy. Still they had to hang on till the very end, which is not uncommon when these two teams meet.
Ryan Mallett, the fourth starting quarterback for the Ravens in the last six weeks, managed to play mistake-free football in his first start for the team. The defense played what might have been the best game of the season, with two interceptions of Ben Roethlisberger—who, it must be said, did not have one of his best games yesterday. And despite all that, the Steelers had a chance to win late.
The season concludes next week on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have already clinched a playoff spot, and may have a chance to get home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win. So they may have something to play for, which means the Ravens might have to deal with their best effort. The Bengals will be without starting quarterback Andy Dalton, so the Ravens have a chance to win two in a row to close out the season. But many fans will tell you, even if they lose next week, they are glad that they won this week.