| || |
Live from Heinz Field
September 29, 2008 - Buck Frank
45 minutes before kickoff
The special teams guys are out on the field warming up. It's a rather warm night for late September but no rain as of yet. The last several home night regular-season games, it seems as though rain was a factor.
As expected, Willie Parker and Casey Hampton will not dress for the Steelers. Rookies Limas Sweed and Tony Hills are also on the inactive list. One notable player active tonight is rookie third-round pick Bruce Davis.
The Ravens will be without three starters -- CB Samari Rolle, S Dawan Landry and NT Kelly Gregg.
10-15 minutes before kickoff:
The Steelers are going retro again. Don't get me wrong, I like the old uniforms. I just think they wear them too much. Maybe once every two or three years. About 20 former players are lined up on the sideline to serve as honorary captains. -- Mike Merriweather, Yancey Thigpen, Carnell Lake, Dwayne Woodruff among them. Weegie Thompson (87) is one that stands out because of his height. Kevin Greene's hair, too.
They announced all 20 of the ex-Steelers. Some of the more recent Steelers, like Jason Gildon, Thigpen, Lake, received the loudest ovations along with Tunch and Wolfley. You hate to see anyone get booed in these situations -- I thought Delton Hall might. I'm guessing most of the fans had no idea who he was or else they may have booed.
Dennis "Dirt' Winston is also in the house. If you watch a tape of Super Bowl XIII, the Cowboys fumble the ball at one point and a pile forms. You then see Winston jumping into the pile moments later, and he's the one who comes out with the ball.
FIRST QUARTER REPORT: The game got off to a somber start with Andre Frazier suffering a spine injury on the opening kickoff. The Steelers haven't updated his status, only saying he will not return to the game. Mendenhall seems to be running pretty well, and James Harrison is being a force again. Roethlisberger was a little shaky in the quarter, maybe still showing some effects from his eight sacks last week. It didn't seem like the Ravens would be able to move the ball until late in the first quarter. It's 3-3, a lot closer than last year's Monday night game between the same two teams in which the Steelers won, 38-7.
HALFTIME REPORT: Some boos were heard as the Steelers exited the field, trailing Baltimore, 13-3. The offense was non-existant in the second quarter, and the Ravens took advantage of some great field position to get both a field goal and touchdown. Guard Kendall Simmons injured his right ankle, and his return to the game is doubtful. The Steelers have now gone eight quarters without a touchdown, and they've only scored one in 11 quarters. It's going to take a big effort to get back into this game against that Raven defense.
THIRD QUARTER REPORT: Wow! The game changed just like that. The Steelers lead now 17-13 and appear to have all of the momentum. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Ravens' Jarret Johnson seemed to give the Steelers new life, and they immediately struck with a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes, then James Harrison forced a Joe Flacco fumble, and LaMarr Woodley took it in for another score. Add Rashard Mendenhall (shoulder) to the injury list. Without Parker or Mendenhall, it's up to Carey Davis to try and run off some clock in the fourth quarter.