|It's All Souls Day, aka "Day of the Dead"|
The Steelers' offense committed seven turnovers that day. Seven! Ravens running back Ray Rice ran roughshod over the Steelers' defense, which ESPN analyst Merril Hoge described as looking "complacent" and which NFL Network blowhard Warren Sapp famously said looked "old and slow."
Today, however, the Steelers are 6-2, lead the AFC and their defense looks anything but "complacent" or "old and slow." Still, this season, the Steelers have looked bad and good; the Ravens have looked good and bad.
Which teams will show up on Sunday at Heinz Field? The Steelers looked awful in losses to the Ravens and Texans; struggled in wins over the Colts and Jaguars; and looked awesome defeating the Cardinals and Patriots the past two weeks. The Ravens looked awful in losses to the Titans and Jaguars; struggled to defeat the Cardinals last Sunday; and looked awesome in defeating the Rams and Steelers early in the season. If anything, the Steelers have improved since the season began; the Ravens appear to have regressed. Maybe both teams simply have found their true level.
|Joe Flacco getting sacked, Week Two, vs. Tennessee.|
Despite occasional flashes from receivers Torrey Smith, a rookie, and Anquin Boldin, a veteran, the Ravens still don't have a consistent deep threat. For all his flaws, though, Flacco does throw as pretty a deep pass as any quarterback in the NFL.
|Lest we forget: Bryant McFadden and Anquin Boldin, Week One|
On the other side of the ball, it bears repeating: The Baltimore defense had seven takeaways. It was embarrassing. Nose tackle Haloti Ngata, totally disruptive, absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage. Rashard Mendenhall probably still has bruises from the fumble-forcing hit that Ngata laid on him in the second quarter. Safety Ed Reed intercepted two passes. Ray Lewis and fellow linebacker Terrell Suggs imposed their will. Linebacker Jarret Johnson hit Hines Ward harder than probably he's ever been hit in his life.
The entire debacle was humiliating.
The Steelers cannot allow anything like any of the above happen again on Sunday.