At Heinz Field on Sunday evening, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger only completed three more passes than Ravens rookie Joe Flacco in the AFC Championship Game.
In reality, it was never that close.
The Baltimore Ravens looked outclassed for the third time in as many tries against Pittsburgh. A combination of curious play calls mixed with an abundance of silly penalties gave the home crowd a chance to wave those terrible towels.
From the start of the game Flacco looked nervous. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron took the leash off the rookie early with three consecutive passes right out of the gate. Flacco completed a short pass to Willis McGahee on the first play of the game and finished the series with two incomplete efforts. The only other completion Flacco had for the rest of the quarter was an interception.
It just wasn’t his day.
McGahee, shining in the biggest game of the year, scored the only points for the Ravens and paid the price on a huge hit by Ryan Clark in the 4th quarter. The hit knocked McGahee out of game and the Ravens out of the playoffs.
Even the biggest Ravens supporter understands this run played out like a fairy tale. John Harbaugh took a team that looked to win only five games on paper into the AFC Championship. Even a cynic can admit that’s an admirable feat. And this team will only get better once it finds its identity at the wide receiver position.
Still, on a snowy night in Pittsburgh, the better team won the game.