- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
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Steel City wake up: morning links
No Mike Wallace, no problem so far for the Steelers. Antonio Brown has emerged as a No. 1 receiver, putting to rest -- at least for now -- questions of how the Steelers would overcome the loss of the speedy Wallace.
Brown has outperformed Wallace, who signed with the Dolphins during the offseason. And he has been as good as any wide receiver in the AFC after getting off to a bit of a slow start due to the struggles of the Steelers’ offense.
The offensive line remains a concern, and so much for the plans the Steelers had up front. They have had to reshuffle their line due to injuries (center Maurkice Pouncey) and ineffectiveness (left tackle Mike Adams). The line the Steelers have patched together faces a stern test Sunday as the Ravens are second in the NFL with 22 sacks.
The Ravens are dealing with their own issues along the offensive line, and a lack of running room is a major reason Ray Rice is averaging less than three yards a carry. The Steelers have been more vulnerable than usual against the run, making their matchup against Rice one of the key ones when the two AFC North foes renew their rivalry.
The big hits that have been a signature of Steelers-Ravens games also elevated the rivalry into one of the top ones in the NFL. Rules that reflect the league’s emphasis on player safety may tone down some of the hitting when these two teams meet, but Steelers players have said they don’t detract from the rivalry.
Four Steelers, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, reminisce about the rivalry with the Ravens and what left an indelible mark on them.