Advertisement

Capsule: Steelers vs. Ravens

By
United Press International

Capsule summary of Sunday's AFC divisional round game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Teams -- Baltimore (11-6), Pittsburgh (13-3)

Advertisement

Site -- Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

Kickoff -- 12:30 pm EST

Last Playoff Meeting -- None

Last Regular Season Meeting -- Kordell Stewart passed for a career-high 333 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Steelers to a 26-21 win at Baltimore on Dec. 16. In the absence of injured Jerome Bettis, Stewart was flawless, completing 20 of 31 passes with touchdowns of 90 yards to Bobby Shaw and 25 yards to Plaxico Burress. Pittsburgh totaled a season-high 476 yards and controlled the ball for more than 41 minutes. Meanwhile, the Steelers defense, led by linebackers Jason Gildon and Earl Holmes, held Baltimore to just 149 total yards before the Ravens went 58 yards on nine plays in their final drive. Burress caught eight passes for a career-high 164 yards. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis led the Ravens with 16 tackles.

Coaches Playoff Records -- Brian Billick, Baltimore, 5-0; Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh, 5-6.

Baltimore offense vs Pittsburgh defense -- The Ravens rushed for 226 yards against Miami in the wild card round, but the Steelers have the league's top-ranked run defense. That means quarterback Elvis Grbac will need to make a handful of big plays. The key will be how Baltimore's offensive line handles the Steelers' blitz packages. The last time the teams met, left outside linebacker Jason Gildon overpowered right tackle Kipp Vickers on running plays and raced past him on pass protection. Ravens coach Brian Billick will keep a back or tight end to help out on Gildon. No worries with left tackle Jonathan Ogden blocking off right outside linebacker Joey Porter. Steelers coach Bill Cowher will likely double cover tight end Shannon Sharpe in the middle of the field. Cornerbacks Chad Scott and Dewayne Washington held receivers Travis Taylor and Qadry Ismail to just five catches for 61 yards in the last meeting in Week 14.

Advertisement

Scouting Report -- Pittsburgh offense vs. Baltimore defense. Jerome Bettis is back, but Pittsburgh's offensive success hinges on the play of quarterback Kordell Stewart, who killed the Ravens with his arm and legs in Week 14. Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis must find a way to contain receiver Plaxico Burress, who used his 6-5 size to catch 12 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns in two games against the Ravens. Cornerback Chris McAlister is Baltimore's best cover corner, but he's four inches shorter than Burress. Left cornerback Duane Starks has struggled and will need safety help when Hines Ward runs his quick slants. Bettis had a six-week break to rest hip and groin injuries, but may be rusty. With middle linebacker Mo Lewis behind tackles Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams, the Ravens believe they will stuff Bettis without safety help. Look for the Steelers to utilize back Amos Zereoue because they think his quickness and stop-and-start style may be the best way to counter Baltimore's speed. Zereoue had 73 yards on 16 carries in Week 14 at Baltimore. Steelers coach Bill Cowher will use a tight end to help right tackle Marvel Smith keep end-linebacker Peter Boulware away from Stewart.

Advertisement

Latest Headlines