There will be a lot written about the Ravens–Steelers rematch that took place in M&T Bank Stadium yesterday. It will undoubtedly grow in Steeler Nation lore over time. Granted, it’s not going to be up there with the Immaculate Reception, or share quite the same stellar quality of that last drive in Super Bowl XLIII, but it will be one for the ages. If the Steelers end up going anywhere in the post season, it will grow even larger in the aura that surrounds this team. Personally, I will remember it always – or as long as I have capacity to remember anything anyway. For most other people living outside the Steeler Nation, it was just another game in the course of a season where, as I’ve often said before, any team has the capacity to beat any other. But it was more than that for those of us within the Black and Gold bubble. Whatever happens from here on out this season, we have this. We watched the team literally limp into Baltimore to meet the most hated division rivals, where no one – ourselves included – gave the Steelers any chance at all to win, and then we watched them walk out winners. I mean, who would have guessed it? The team collectively turned the ball over eight times (I don’t like counting the late fumble by Rainey as really mattering, so I still stubbornly hold to seven turnovers as being the nails in the coffin, but it’s in the books, so…) the week before against the then 2-8 Cleveland Browns. And, after all, the Ravens swept the Steelers the year before with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm and had just beaten them in Heinz Field two weeks before. One would have to be crazy to think the team had any chance at all.
The fan base did get a boost knowing Troy Polamalu would at last be back on the field, but as I explained to the manager of the Hallmark store where I bought my Hines Ward ornament the day before, defense was not our problem. Even I, the largest Charlie Batch apologist I know, was steeled, if you will, for a loss. And, if you look at the game as just a series of highlights, it should have been. The Steelers were not flawless by any stretch. But, as I said at the top, there will be a lot written about the game and others will break it down play-by-play I have no doubt: the conclusions of which will differ slightly differently depending on whether you write with Steeler Black or Raven Purple. But, this game, to my mind, proved something else about the game of football: it’s more than x’s and o’s. It’s heart and desire. On another field in another part of the country, the Kansas City Chiefs were proving the same thing. Sometimes, football transcends itself and becomes something larger. And sometimes the right thing happens. Not so much that the Steelers beat the hated Ravens, but that Charlie Batch’s reputation was redeemed and the hometown man could once more be a hometown hero. As it should be after all he’s done when needed over the years.
I am not much of a numbers person, but the most beautiful numbers I know are: Steelers 23-Ravens 20. Way to go Charlie!