Saturday, January 15, 2011
Ravens-Steelers halftime notes
By James Walker
PITTSBURGH -- The Baltimore Ravens lead the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 at intermission.
Here are some notes at halftime:
- On Friday we wrote in the AFC North blog that rust could be an issue for Pittsburgh, and that's clearly the case in the first half. The Steelers haven't played in two weeks, and combined with Baltimore looking very sharp and bringing its 'A' game, that's made for a lopsided first half. The Ravens are taking advantage of Steelers' penalties (six) and turnovers (two) and turning them into points. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and tailback Rashard Mendenhall both had big fumbles for Pittsburgh, and Baltimore turned them into 14 points. Pittsburgh kicker Shaun Suisham also missed a 43-yard field goal right before halftime.
- Baltimore has done a solid job on offense of avoiding Pittsburgh's pressure by running several screens and draw plays for decent gains. The Steelers often blitz on second and third downs, and the Ravens have caught the Steelers a few times in the first half. Baltimore's first touchdown was scored on a 14-yard draw play by tailback Ray Rice.
- The officials have made their presence felt early. There have been two pass interference calls -- one for each team -- totaling 74 yards. Both calls eventually led to touchdowns. Officials did get the big fumble call correct against Roethlisberger when he was hit by Terrell Suggs, who has two sacks in the first half. Everyone on the field thought it was a forward pass, until Ravens defensive lineman Cory Redding picked up the football and walked into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown. Overall, there were nine penalties in the first half.
- On the injury front, Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden suffered a hip injury and didn't return. The team announced that his return to the game is questionable.