The football gods are blocking the Ravens’ path to Super Bowl

Street Talk The football gods are blocking the Ravens’ path to Super Bowl

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Cam Cameron is not able to get it done as Offensive Coordinator. This is not news to most of the fan base of the Baltimore Ravens. Me, if I were the owner, I would make an immediate change.

The two candidates that could make this offense work better in very short order are Brian Billick and Josh McDaniels. Yes I did say Brian Billick.

Last I saw they are both available. Both were considered the best at their trade as coordinators. Both would be successful given the Ravens talent laden roster. What do the Ravens have to lose at this point? They are averaging nearly 3 points per game LESS in 2010 than they did in ’09 and the last time I checked, Anquan Boldin, TJ Houshmandzadeh and Donte Stallworth were not on that roster.

Look barring a disaster the Ravens will be back in the playoffs but do they have enough to get over the hump called the Pittsburgh Steelers in January? That’s a tall task particularly when you consider the football gods.

Do you really think even with an in synch offense the football gods will allow the Ravens to be a Super Bowl participant in Dallas come February?

Seriously?

Everyone knows you can’t fight the football gods and let’s face it, they are Steelers’ fans! Even Tom Brady will be no match for the Steelers in January.

The football gods are teasers too. Back on October 3rd they tried to keep us all honest allowing a Flacco to Houshmandzadeh touchdown to happen as sort of a red herring. Don’t believe me? Then let’s consider the facts:

9/12/10 – Steelers 15, Falcons 9 in overtime

Rashard Mendenhall ran 50 yards for a touchdown 2:35 into overtime and the Steelers overcame a shaky start by replacement quarterback Dennis Dixon and a missed field goal attempt late in regulation to beat the Atlanta Falcons 15-9. Matt Ryan (before he became “Matty Ice”) was 27 of 44 for an ineffectual 252 yards and was intercepted by Troy Polamalu with 1:45 remaining in regulation. The Falcons challenged the ruling thinking that Polamalu didn’t get both feet down in bounds. Win the challenge and perhaps continue a drive to a game winning field goal. Guess how that one ended up?  

From that point forward, Matty Ice has been nearly unstoppable.

Coincidence?

10/24/10 – Steelers 23, Dolphins 22

Ben Roethlisberger and several other players waged an end-zone scrum for a loose ball so frantic the officials were unable to determine a winner. That gave the game to the Steelers. A video review determined Roethlisberger’s late touchdown was instead a fumble, but because it was unclear who recovered. Pittsburgh kept the ball and kicked the game-winning field goal on the next play to beat the Miami Dolphins 23-22.

Said Miami linebacker Channing Crowder: "The refs called a wonderful game — for the Steelers." After a review, referee Gene Steratore announced Roethlisberger fumbled before scoring. But Steratore said replays were inconclusive regarding which team recovered, and the Steelers were awarded possession at the half-yard line, allowing Jeff Reed to kick an 18-yard field goal with 2:26 left.

"I have to have clear video evidence of the team recovering the fumble," Steratore said after the game. "It is a pile of bodies in there, and you don’t have a clear recovery."

Several Dolphins argued Miami linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis recovered.

The football gods disagreed.

Think the gods had Pittsburgh area native Steratore there for a reason?

11/8/10 – Steelers 27, Bengals 21

Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception that set up Terrell Owens’ second touchdown catch of the game, and Jeff Reed missed a 46-yard field goal try that would have clinched it with 3:59 to go. In a game that the Steelers otherwise dominated, they were crumbling mightily in the 4th quarter. Trailing by 6 points, Carson Palmer led the Bengals downfield on the games’ penultimate drive with the help of a wacky play. His pass to Cedric Benson was tipped, but the running back made a juggling catch for a 16-yard gain on third-and-long. Chad Ochocinco’s only catch of the game moved it to the 12-yard line. On fourth-and-5, Palmer found Jason Shipley open over the middle in first-down range, but the Steelers converged and squeezed the ball out to end it.

"I ran in the middle of two guys," Shipley said. "I felt like I had it, and they knocked it out of there."

And just who knocked the ball out Jason?

Was it the Steelers or the football gods?

11/29/10 – Steelers 19, Bills 16 in overtime

Bills receiver Stevie Johnson was inconsolable for letting a victory slip through his hands. The Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t going to let him or Buffalo get a second chance.

With his head down at the end of the bench, Johnson couldn’t watch as Shaun Suisham hit a 41-yard field goal with 2:14 left in overtime to secure the Steelers’ 19-16 victory. It was a dramatic turn of events for the Bills and Johnson; in particular, after he could’ve ended the game in Buffalo’s favor on the previous possession but dropped what would have been a 40-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick.

"I had the game in my hands and I dropped it," Johnson said. "Humbled, humbled."

Then, growing emotional, Johnson added: "I’ll never get over it. Ever."

The next day, it was reported that Johnson in a twitter message blamed God for the dropped touchdown.

I’m not making this up but maybe, maybe Stevie meant the football gods.

12/5/10 – Steelers 13, Ravens 10

With 3:31 on the game clock and the Ravens facing a second and 5 from their own 43, disaster struck the purple and black clad crows. Maybe the gods hate ugly, and that combination of purple tops with black pants sure isn’t pretty.  

The Baltimore Ravens have been beaten so many times by Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger they should have seen it coming. And yet, it happened again. Polamalu forced a fumble with a sack of Joe Flacco and Roethlisberger converted the turnover into a 9-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Redman with 2:51 left to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 13-10 victory Sunday night.

As a result of a blown assignment, Polamalu was unabated.

Did the gods persuade Michael Oher to abandon his assignment and let Polamalu chase down Joe Flacco untouched?

"Everybody watching TV at home, everybody in the stadium, you all know it you see 43 at the line, four-minute offense, he’s coming," said Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who had 1 1/2 sacks. "It was just like, I hope we have a plan. It just didn’t feel good when I saw that hair at the line."

"That’s a Steelers-Ravens game, right? Hard-fought all the way to the end," Roethlisberger said.

"Everybody contributes."

Especially the football gods!

 

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Eric Buckner

About Eric Buckner

Eric Buckner is a native of Baltimore and has lived in the area his entire life. A graduate of Towson University , Eric has been a student of professional football since the day he wept in his grandfather's bedroom after the Baltimore Colts were upset by the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. A loyal fan of the Colts and subsequently the Ravens, Eric's passion for the NFL is unwavering as evidenced by his near flawless attendance record at Ravens' games. He's missed only one preseason game -- back in 2005. We'll cut him some slack since he was on his honeymoon. You won't find Eric slacking when it comes to covering the AFC North for ProFootball24x7.com.   More from Eric Buckner

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