The way James Harrison played Monday night, he might sneak his way
On a night when the Steelers honored the 33 members of their
Harrison had a night as dominant as any defensive player on it,
recording nine tackles, 3.5
sacks, two forced fumbles – one of which he recovered himself – and
That, and a career-high and team-record tying five touchdown
passes from Ben Roethlisberger, helped the Steelers smack around the Baltimore Ravens, 38-7, here at
The Steelers got a scare with 6:04 remaining in the third quarter
was knocked to the ground by Terrell Suggs after a long completion to
But after missing two series with a hip injury, Roethlisberger
returned to the game and
appeared to be OK.
“At this point it’s a hip-pointer,” said head coach Mike Tomlin.
“He was fine after the
initial pain subsided and he was fine to go back into the game. He
felt strongly about it.
He was persuasive.”
The injury nearly ruined what was otherwise a strong effort by the
Steelers who were
looking for retribution against a Baltimore team that dominated them
sweeping the season series by a combined score of 58-7.
For a while, it looked like the Steelers (6-2) were looking to
match that score against
Baltimore (4-4) in this game.
“It was in the backs of our minds,” admitted linebacker Larry Foote. “I’d be lying if I
said it wasn’t.”
The Steelers’ first score came courtesy of a strong pass rush by
Harrison stormed into the backfield on Baltimore’s first
possession and flushed
quarterback Steve McNair to his right. Harrison continued his
pursuit, sacking McNair and
knocking the ball free. In the ensuing scrum, Harrison jumped into
the pile, pulling the
ball out at the Baltimore 20.
After a pair of short runs by Willie Parker, Roethlisberger – who
completed 13 of 16
passes for 209 yards – showed off his trademark escapability, shaking
off a tackle attempt
by defensive tackle Trevor Pryce, rolling to his left and throwing to
Heath Miller for a 17-
yard TD pass.
Harrison then completely took the Ravens out of their game.
On a re-punt due to offsetting penalties, Harrison blew up
Baltimore return man Ed Reed – a Pro Bowl safety subbing for Yamon Figures, who was shaken up
on the previous
punt. Harrison separated Reed from the ball so violently that it flew
10 feet into the air,
where it was caught by rookie linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
“It seemed like everything was working,” said Harrison. “Coach
(Dick) LeBeau was
calling great defenses and everybody was doing what they needed to
“It was a little more satisfying because it was Baltimore. I
played for them for like two
weeks and then they cut me.”
Timmons returned the ball six yards to the Baltimore 28 and the
Steelers were in
Roethlisberger put the Steelers ahead 14-0 with a 15-yard TD pass
to Holmes, who
had four catches for 110 yards, in the back of the end zone with 1:41
remaining in the
Yet another Ravens’ turnover gave the Steelers another short field
to work with as
Troy Polamalu forced a fumble by Willis McGahee on the next
possession, with Anthony Smith recovering at the Baltimore 36.
Three plays later, Roethlisberger escaped the grasp of Suggs,
rolled to his right and
threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington, who was 10 yards
nearest Baltimore defender, to give the Steelers a 21-0 lead two
plays in the second
On the Steelers’ next possession Roethlisberger connected with
Holmes again, this
time for a 35-yard touchdown pass for a 28-0 lead.
Harrison then struck again. This time, he stepped in front of a
McNair pass, picking it
off at the Pittsburgh 36. He returned the ball to the Baltimore 44
and Roethlisberger took
the Steelers in for another score, throwing his fifth TD pass to
Washington for a 35-0 lead.
Baltimore finally got on the board late in the first half on a
33-yard run by McGahee, a
touchdown that was set up by a 52-yard kickoff return by Musa Smith.