Steelers survive Crowbar Bowl II
Roethlisberger's pain threshold symbolic of what was needed to avenge loss to Ravens
BALTIMORE -- Mike Tomlin stood outside the visitors locker room at M&T Bank Stadium as two Baltimore cops smushed a Pittsburgh Steelers fan's face against a white cinder block wall. The fan, wearing a LaMarr Woodley jersey, began screaming in pain as the cops pulled his arms behind his back and began to lead him away."Be cool, buddy," said the Steelers coach. "Tomlin," said the man between screams, "I love you, baby!" Only minutes removed from the Steelers' crucial 13-10 win against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday evening, Tomlin didn't try hiding a smile. He appreciates effort and passion -- and the apparently over-served fan had both.
Or four quarters with the Ravens, who won the Week 4 matchup in Pittsburgh 17-14.
"It's a Steelers-Ravens game, right?'' he said. "Hard fought all the way to the end."Steelers tight end Heath Miller was knocked out -- and out of the game with a concussion. Steelers right tackle Flozell Adams, his leg dragging because of a high ankle sprain, had to be helped off the field. Even Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda injured his ACL and is out for the remainder of the season. "That's why we believe that's the No. 1 rivalry in football," Tomlin said afterward. "It's a humbling thing to be a part of We've got a big-time respect for that football team. They've earned it and hopefully we've earned their respect." The Steelers and Ravens might respect each other, but they don't like each other. If the NFL has a Bama-Auburn-like rivalry, this is it. You get bruises just watching it. There was nothing subtle about the game. It was crowbar football. Hard shots. Borderline cheap shots. Pushing. Shoving. Woofing. And that was just in the warm-ups.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hear Gene's podcasts and ESPN Radio appearances by clicking here. And don't forget to follow him on Twitter @GenoEspn.;