Blog Entry

Tomlin on PIT-BAL matchup '2 trains on a track'

Posted on: September 6, 2011 4:26 pm
The Ravens and Steelers meet in Week 1. Apparently, they do not like each other.  (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

There are eight division matchups in Week 1 but the biggest could be Sunday's Steelers-Ravens get-together. Both teams went 12-4 last season, made the playoffs, and the Steelers got to the Super Bowl before losing to the Packers.

Seven months later, Pittsburgh and Baltimore remain two of the AFC's best teams. And by Sunday night, we should should know the early favorite to win the AFC North (apologies to whoever wins the Bengals-Browns tilt).

But both teams enter the season with issues; the Ravens lack depth at wide receiver, quarterback and the offensive line, and the Steelers are one of the oldest clubs in the league. Over the weekend, we documented the Ravens' potential problems in great detail, but in the days since, head coach John Harbaugh announced that Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams will be the starting cornerbacks. Smith was the team's first-round pick in April; Williams has just one start in his four-year career. And they'll be facing possibly the best group of pass-catchers in the league. As a unit, the Ravens secondary will be tasked with stopping Mike Wallace, who had 10 touchdowns and averaged 21 yards per catch last season, Hines Ward, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.

"I think we are younger, more athletic and faster than we've been the last two years," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, according to the Baltimore Sun. "I think this team will be a better team in October and November than they will be in September. Then you may go, 'What are you saying?' I'm saying we've got some young guys that are going to get better…"

The Rivalry

Baltimore also has plenty of veterans, although some are new faces around the locker room. The team signed center Andre Gurode over the weekend in case Matt Birk isn't fully recovered from back spasms, left tackle Bryant McKinnie was inked last month after Oniel Cousins flopped at right tackle (Michael Oher has since been moved to RT and McKinnie is penciled to play LT), and the Ravens traded for Lee Evans after it was clear rookie wideout Torrey Smith wasn't yet ready for the No. 2 job.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked repeatedly about the age of his team during his Tuesday press conference and, slightly agitated, he finally said “You’re making my job easy,” presumably because it would motivate aforementioned old-timers to play harder. That includes linebacker James Harrison, 33, who admits to being less than 100 percent after two offseason back surgeries.

Tomlin, however, remains unconcerned about the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year. “I expect James to be James.” We suspect Joe Flacco feels similarly; in the past eight meetings between the two teams, Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have sacked the Ravens quarterback 12 times.

Pittsburgh nose tackle Casey Hampton put the rivalry in perspective: "They talk a whole lot," Hampton said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "They don't like us. I think they don't like us a lot more than we don't like them. I think they have to talk themselves into it, kind of, know what I mean? Since I've been here, we've beat them a lot more than they beat us. They have to talk about it a whole lot."

For the record, since Hampton's arrival in 2001, the Steelers are 14-9 against the Ravens (including the playoffs).

Tomlin says the pregame gum-flapping doesn't mean much. “Who’s angry, who’s not, what’s said, what’s not said ... that’s going to be irrelevant. We have two ... teams with the same intentions: to put themselves in position to chase the Lombardi. That’s why we will always have issues with those guys. Two trains on a track. See you Sunday."

We'll be there.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 4:11 pm

Tomlin on PIT-BAL matchup '2 trains on a track'

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 5:31 am
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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 29, 2011 12:09 am
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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 23, 2011 8:06 pm
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Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: September 7, 2011 11:24 am

Tomlin on PIT-BAL matchup '2 trains on a track'

just like a steelers fan to try and ellicit an emotional response because they have no real way to explain why the ravens were outplaying the steelers in the last two games before the outcome of which was changed on chance plays. yes the steeler have won in the playoffs but you cannot tell me that they were dominating the ravens in the last two games since the ravens were leading for most of both of them. and trying to use mendehalls fumble in the superbowl as an example of "we would have won had it not happened" is ridiculous as Greenbay had the lead the entire game and pittsburgh did not lose the lead based on that turnover. pittsburgh is lucky to have beaten the ravens the last two times they have played.

as for me being ashamed to be a ravens fan. everyone knows that youre ashamed of your team unless you post it on cbs.........    

Since: Jul 19, 2007
Posted on: September 7, 2011 11:03 am

Tomlin on PIT-BAL matchup '2 trains on a track'

duncanT65 - by the fact you are an Orioles fan, I will assume you are a Ravens fan as well (and I guess, too ashamed to admit you are a Ravens fan by your lack of them under your "favorite teams"), and you, like most others, do nothing but make excuses as to why the Steelers have dominated the Ravens in the playoffs.  It would have been real easy for the Steelers fans to say "well, if Mendenhall hadn't fumbled int eh super bowl, we would have won", but instead, I recognize that it is part of the game and the better team won that day, as much as I amy not like it.  Good luck this year, but I don't see the results being much different...

Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: September 7, 2011 8:02 am

Tomlin on PIT-BAL matchup '2 trains on a track'

you mush be reading some fantasy they print up in pittsburgh to give your fans reason to think the nfl experts aren't all homers for the steelers, cause every "expert" i've read is picking the steelers to win. if you look at the last two losses the ravens have to the steelers i think the ravens have done more to stop the ravens than the steelers have. If not for a bad pass play call that generated a flacco fumble when they should be running and 3 turnovers in one quarter when your offense couldn't get near the endzone the ravens would have won the last 3 games.

Since: Jun 22, 2011
Posted on: September 7, 2011 6:31 am

Tomlin on PIT-BAL matchup '2 trains on a track'


Wow.....don't be so sensitive's gonna be okay.

Remember fans.....KICKOFF 2011....THIS IS WAR....TAKE NO PRISONERS...KILL EM ALL!!!!

P.S. I am a 2 time OIF Veteran....Go Bears!

Since: Jun 22, 2011
Posted on: September 7, 2011 6:23 am

Tomlin on PIT-BAL matchup '2 trains on a track'

Kickoff 2011

Time for all that "Flacco is Baltimore's Jordan" talk to stand up to the competetion.....

Since: Jan 5, 2010
Posted on: September 7, 2011 5:34 am

Tomlin on PIT-BAL matchup '2 trains on a track'

What a slanted view you have. The Balto-Pitt game have gone down (for the most part) as some of the best football ever played.
Like it should be played. Ok Pitt has the edge but please remember that things change every year with teams. I want to see the
Smashmouth between both clubs. I also dis-agree with folks saying the boys in Black and Gold and either Clevland or Cinncy have
toughest games cannot see how that has changed. Our foe in the South (Balto) is the new face of challenge. Just my opinion.

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