Steelers vs Ravens – A History

One thing that irks me about the “talking heads” is how they talk about the Steelers vs. Ravens Rivalry beginning in 2008 and completely missing the mark. From the moment the Ravens officially went into existence in 1996 – the team they emulated was Pittsburgh. And while most of the initial 8 games were unremarkable as the Steelers won 6 – there was one that did stand out:

Oct 5, 1997; Steelers win 42-34 in a memorable game.
The Ravens were up 24-7 at halftime, but an all-time level performance by Kordell Stewart with 5 TDs, 3 passing, 2 rushing (including a 74-yard run) with Bettis chipping in an extra 137 in a comeback win.

But this Rivalry really began when both teams emerged in the early 2000s — As both teams turned the corner to be among the leagues elite — talking trash and over the next decade playing multiple times in primetime and even in games directly for the Division title.


The Rivalry seeds are planted
September 3, 2000: Ravens win 16-0
October 29, 2000: Steelers win 9-6
The Ravens finally overcome their hurdle of the Steelers by winning the first game of the season with their “All Time Great Defense”. Congrats to defeating Kent Graham, who was among the better QBs the Ravens played all year. When they had to go up against a “real” QB in Kordell Stewart in the rematch, they actually lost.

The Rivalry Heats up
November 1, 2001: Ravens win 13-10
December 16, 2001: Steelers win 26-21 to Clinch Division Title on National TV
January 20, 2002: Steelers win 27-10 in AFC Divisional Playoffs.
The Ravens begin the trash talk about how great they are, especially after the first game. Never mind they got their butts handed to them and were gifted by the disaster that was Kris Brown missing 4/5 FGs.
> The 1st of 4 times the Steelers and Ravens would play with the Division title at stake – and 1st of 3 in Baltimore.
> Shannon Sharpe especially ran it up calling out Plaxico as “Plexi-Glass”. There wasn’t enough superglue for that mouth after Burress caught 8 for 128 and a TD.
> Hines Ward metaphorically said good-bye to the “old Steelers” and branded the “new Steelers” when he hit Rod Woodson so hard on a block he knocked the crap out of him. It was odd to see, but it made a statement.
> Come the playoffs, the potential “greatest defense ever” was made more like “one year wonder” when Amos ran right over Ray Lewis for a TD and it wasn’t even close.

The Ravens learn the rule of unintended consequences.
December 28, 2003: Ravens win 13-10 in OT.
September 19, 2004: Ravens win 30-13.
Congrats Ravens – you won a meaningless game to you in OT, here are your prizes:
> Jamal Lewis failed to set single season rushing mark and you exhausted yourself for your playoff game.
> Dick LeBeau likes the Steelers effort and picks Pittsburgh to rejoin as DC in 2004.
> The Ravens hand the 11th overall pick and Ben Roethlisberger to the Steelers.
> Then they injure Tommy Maddox and begin the Roethlisberger era in week 2 of 2004. We appreciate.

Monday Night Football
October 31, 2005: Steelers win 20-19
November 5, 2007; Steelers win 38-7
They first honor Myron Cope and Ben leads a last second comeback drive. Then they honor the 75th Anniversary Team to which Mel Blount called embarrassing – which was he referring to:
> Roethlisberger throwing 5 TDs in the first have and having a 158.3 perfect passer rating
> Harrison tallying 9 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery

We may never know!

The Media Realizes the Rivalry
September 29, 2008: Steelers win 23-20 in OT
December 14, 2008: Steelers win 13-9 in Baltimore for the division championship
January 18, 2009: Steelers win 23-14 in AFC Championship
> Santonio Holmes may have been the only offensive player to score a TD – but he did it in all three games.
> Once again, in Baltimore, for the AFC North Championship
> 3:36 on the clock and on the 8-yard line; Roethlisberger takes them on a 12 play, 92-yard drive to throw the game winner to Holmes.
> But it was even more sweet to see Troy Polamalu step up to the stage and seal the AFC Championship with a pick-6 while Ed Reed was on a milk carton.

The Ravens finally beat the Steelers – but something is missing.
November 29, 2009: Ravens win 23-20 in OT
October 3, 2010: Ravens win 17-14
Credit the Ravens for finally winning in primetime and extending their winning streak over the Steelers to 3 games when Roethlisberger didn’t start – an amazing streak dating back to 2006. Never mind both were barely won and once against a 3rd string QB, they did it.

History repeats itself
December 5, 2010: Steelers win 13-10 in Baltimore for the Division Championship on SNF
January 11, 2011: Steelers win 31-24 in Divisional Playoffs
* In Baltimore for the Division Title – Check
* Playing in Primetime – Check
* Playoffs – Check
> For the 3rd time Pittsburgh has a chance to clinch the Division in Baltimore and for the 3rd time Pittsburgh wins.
> The rumble starts about the Ravens are getting tired of playing primetime & nationally televised games vs. the Steelers.
> Ed Reed is still on a milk carton somewhere as I still can’t remember him making a play vs. Pittsburgh while Troy and Ben seal the game with a strip sack and a game winning TD pass combination.
> Ravens fans are certain that Antonio Brown guy, who was a 6th round pick rookie and hauled in that 58-yard catch using his helmet on 3rd and 19 was one fluke play – won’t be heard from again.

After that game, the Ravens asked the NFL to cease with the Steelers and Ravens on primetime.

Credit the Ravens to finally getting over the Steelers hump in 2011 when that run was over and winning the Super Bowl. And credit to them for winning 7 of 10 since that 2010 season as the Steelers rebuilt, winning some primetime games in the process and giving the Steelers the only loss to a divisional opponent in the playoffs ever (with additional credit to Burfict for injuring Bell).

Until 2016….
December 25, 2016: Steelers 31-27
At least this nationally televised game for the Division Championship is in Pittsburgh, right?
> LeVeon Bell – 20 rushes for 122 yards, 3 receptions for 15 yards, 2 TDs — check
> Antonio Brown — 10 receptions for 96 yards and the Immaculate Extension TD — check
> Ben Roethlisberger — 24/33 279 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT and with 1:18 on clock – leads a 10 play, 75-yard game winning TD drive — check

Things kinda felt back to normal, didn’t they?

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