Steelers beat the Ravens in the playoffs again, this time a 31-24 defeat in the divisional round. The Steelers solidified they are the better of the two by winning a second time against their rival in the playoffs in three years. What became evident as the game moved into the second half was the difference in the quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger’s stature grew at the critical juncture of the game where Flacco seemed to wilt as though the game was too big for him. Even when the Ravens were leading his throws were short and were quick dump offs to Ray Rice. He challenged downfield a few times each throw was late and the defender was right there. Once Ike Taylor was right in Derrick Mason’s hip pocket and the other Mason had to stop to break up what would have been an interception by William Gay. Where was Anquan Boldin?
The real issue was the stature of Ben Roethlisberger and how the magnitude of the event doesn’t phase him, in fact he thrives in it. Anymore late game heroics its time to talk about him in the John Elway mold. He’s won late games in the regular season, playoffs, and the Super Bowl XLIII pass to Santonio Holmes with seconds left is one of the greatest throws in history. Yesterday as the Steelers got the ball back, I joked on my facebook page; “If you want to know why I voted Ben Roethlisberger #2 behind Tom Brady, watch this”. Its become that common place. You saw the confidence in his eyes as he walked onto the field. The epitome of swagger, and in his body english, spirit, and words engenders confidence in his teammates. As Coach Tomlin said ‘he doesn’t blink and his teammates follow him’. Enough said…
So where does Baltimore go from here? They need a quarterback exchange. A trade for Kevin Kolb would be the ideal situation. The Steelers aren’t about to go anywhere. They are one of the oldest teams in football but look at this young , speedy recieving corp they are putting together. Ben is still young and most of the defensive stars are in the middle of their career. Flacco’s confidence hasn’t improved and in a league with Aaron Rodgers coming of age yesterday, Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford, Josh Freeman, Mark Sanchez and all these young quarterbacks coming on, he needed to have shown more improvement. Yet his confidence even hampered the way the Ravens coaches with the play calling. Ray Lewis is near retirement and new leaders have to emerge and Flacco struggles there as well. You have to get another quarterback, Ravens I hate to say.
A friend of mine told me that I might be over reacting and then I had to remind him of David Woodley. A young quarterback for the Miami Dolphins who took his team to Super Bowl XVII. Even though he had his issues that had coach Shula replace him on occasion, he had a lead at halftime yet could only complete 1 pass in the second half in a 27-17 loss. Now he could have stayed with Woodley, instead he drafted Dan Marino 3 months later. Know when you have seen enough. When it comes to Joe Flacco I have.