Heinz Field has gone silent as we head to halftime with the Ravens holding a 14-point lead.
Here are a few quick-hit notes on the first half of play:
- The Ravens have brought the pressure to Ben Roethlisberger on nearly every single play, blitzing linebackers, safeties, cornerbacks, punters and equipment managers. I think Joe Flacco has even been called on to blitz Big Ben today. Some of the blitzes have been effective, others have failed, but defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is making Roethlisberger think, and he has no idea where the pressure will come from next.
- How many times does a game ultimately come down to who wins the turnover battle? The Ravens haven’t coughed it up once today, while the Steelers have turned the ball over twice. Both giveaways happened deep in Pittsburgh territory, and both directly led to Ravens touchdowns.
- I like that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has continued to spread the field and force the Steelers’ defensive backs to cover his four top receiving threats (Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Todd Heap) one-on-one. Pittsburgh’s safeties can provide help on a couple guys, but they can’t bracket all four receivers, and Flacco has done a nice job of finding the open guy and getting the ball in his hands. Also, his lack of turnovers has been crucial.
- Terrell Suggs has been an absolute monster so far today. Sizzle has posted four tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble, and has been in Ben Roethlisberger’s face all evening. Suggs’ bounce-back season continues, and he’s now registered four sacks in six postseason quarters this year.
- Let’s give the offensive line credit for their first half performance. The only time Flacco was sacked was when LaMarr Woodley came in clean when reserve guard/tackle Tony Moll was late to slide over and pick him up in a jumbo formation. The Ravens’ starting O-line has been spectacular so far, and the backs and tight ends have done a nice job chipping and picking up blitzers.