"It's going to be a brawl. They're on fire. Ain't nobody had too many answers
for us. We're still the Baltimore Ravens, and I'm not afraid of their offense
Strong words in a rivalry defined by hard hits, harsh words and high stakes that will be revisited Sunday at Heinz Field between Pittsburgh (13-1) and Baltimore (8-6). Baltimore is 6-11 overall in the regular season against Pittsburgh, but has won the last two encounters. The Steelers have never lost three games in a row to the Ravens, and the Ravens have never swept the season series.
Adding to the tempest is the recent bad blood created by Steelers linebacker Joey Porter. Porter roughly shoving defenseless Ravens tight end Todd Heap to the ground in the second game of the season. Heap was balancing himself on one leg in his stance after hobbling to the line with a severely sprained ankle that kept him out for nine games when Porter knocked him down.
Porter was called an unprintable name afterward by Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister, who also insulted receiver Hines Ward.
"I thought it was a cheap shot," Heap said. "It wasn't necessary, but it's not like I'm going in with a grudge or anything. I'm going in to play football."
Heap said he didn't believe that Porter toppling him over aggravated the injury.
"I don't think it made it any worse," Heap said.
Not all of Heap's teammates were as diplomatic. Or as inclined to not look for a measure of revenge against the controversial outside linebacker who has also feuded with Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
"That's in my head," offensive tackle Orlando Brown said. "That's in every other player's head. I think he knows that. I'll be looking for him."
Porter told reporters in Pittsburgh, essentially, that the Ravens should bring it on.
"I won't be hard to find," Porter said.
As well as a being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
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