How About ...

Dale Lolley is back from Baltimore with his notebook on the Steelers' 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Did you catch the Mike Tomlin-John Harbaugh handshake at the end of this game?

I wanted to ask Tomlin after the game if him basically blowing Harbaugh off was in response to the cameras catching Harbaugh after Baltimore's 13-10 win in Pittsburgh saying the more physical team won, but there were too many other fish to fry and Tomlin wouldn't have answered it anyway.

But that was certainly the feeling I got.

The Ravens did play a physical game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. They then went out in Baltimore and tried to chuck the ball 30 yards downfield on every other play.

Baltimore attempted 20 runs in a game in which it was leading basically all day.

It was almost as if the Ravens were going for style points in a Baltimore-Pittsburgh slugfest. Shame on them.

* Kudos to the young Steelers corners for more than holding their own.

Ike Taylor has what is feared to be a fibula injury, one that will likely cause him to miss a game for the first time since 2004, but the Steelers had to like what they saw from their corners.

* It also helped having Troy Polamalu back in that secondary.

Polamalu was only credited with two tackles in this game, but he sure looked like the Troy of old to me, attacking the line of scrimmage and blitzing.

James Harrison is now starting to look like James Harrison. And Polamalu looked like himself. This Steelers team is going to make a lot of noise in the playoffs.

* The Steelers pass rushers looked like hungry dogs getting after Joe Flacco in this one.

They seemed intent on putting pressure in Flacco's face and forcing bad throws, and it worked time and again.

Flacco completed 6 of 7 passes to his running backs, and 10 of 27 passes to his wide receivers and tight ends.

* Ray Rice touched the ball just 13 times in this game, which makes me wonder if he's hurt and the Ravens just aren't saying anything about it.

* While this game wasn't necessary for the Steelers to win to make the playoffs, it did send a very important message to the rest of the AFC and the Ravens in particular.

The Steelers have outplayed the Ravens twice this season with two backup quarterbacks.

When the Steelers go back to Baltimore in a little over a month - and that's my guess right now for a first-round playoff opponent - they will do so again.

Baltimore is going to win the AFC North, but there's nothing scary about playing that team - save Rice.

And if the Ravens aren't going to give him the ball, then that's out the window as well.

* After watching Kelvin Beachum in action, I realize why the coaching staff was so high on him despite some issues with holding in the first couple of preseason games.

Beachum doesn't look like much but he's extremely athletic. He's just the kind of player the Steelers are shifting to on their offensive line, fitting in well with the likes of Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro.

* Ziggy Hood has taken a lot of criticism, and rightfully so in most cases.

But he had five tackles, two for a loss, a sack, recovered a fumble and added a hurry in this game.

Sure, the sack was a coverage sack, but he hustled back into the play.

And if you're going to rip him, then you have to recognize when he plays well.

* I was going to try to make it through my notes without mentioning Charlie Batch, but that is impossible.

So we'll go last, but certainly not least.

Did you see the way his teammates and coaches gathered around him at the end of this one?

That is respect that has been earned by years of being a good soldier. If this is indeed the last game Batch starts in his career, he made it a good one.

Batch's downfield block on Jonathan Dwyer's touchdown run should be the highlight of the Steelers' season-ending highlight film - unless they are raising a trophy at the end of it.

(Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Washington Observer-Reporter. Click here to comment on Dale's column.)

Ravens Insider Top Stories