Corey Graham and James Ihedigbo have plenty of NFL games to their credit, but neither of them had ever played in a Ravens-Steelers game before. Both thrived in the atmosphere and made critical plays that helped carry the Ravens to a bruising, 13-10 win at raucuous Heinz Field on Sunday night.
Graham, a free agent acquisition in the offseason seen primarily as a special teams ace, was making his first start at cornerback for the Ravens in place of injured Jimmy Smith. He had several huge plays, including a leaping interception deep in Ravens territory in the third quarter and a bone-crunching hit on Steelers tight end Heath Miller on the Steelers’ final drive.
Ravens-Steelers, Graham said, “lived up to all expectations. They talked about how it was going to be a physical game, how it was going to come down to the end, and it all lived up to it.”
Graham finished with eight tackles, the interception and three passes defensed.
On his big play in the final drive of the game, when the 6-foot, 196-pound Graham hammered the 6-5, 256-pound Miller and dislodged the ball, Graham said, “You just try to go out there and make plays. I was fortunate. He didn’t see me coming, and instead of going for the ball, I just went for the hit.”
Ihedigbo also left his mark on the Steelers, and specifically Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich. Ihedigbo came untouched on a safety blitz in the fourth quarter and hammered Leftwich, who got up slowly but continued in the game.