Roethlisberger: Upshaw Hit Hardest Since Bart Scott
Everyone knows the hardest hit Ben Roethlisberger has ever taken.
The Steelers quarterback has been on record saying the slam he took from former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott in 2006 left him in the most pain. Big Ben said Scott took him off his feet and he remembers seeing the sky in slow motion as he fell to the ground. He couldn't breathe afterwards.
Here's a refresher of the play (mobile users tap "View in browser"):
So, how does the massive hit he took from outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw Thursday night compare?
"This is easily right there with a close second," Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, per ESPN. "I lost my breath instantly and remember hitting the ground thinking, 'Boy, that hurt a lot.' I kind of pride myself on not taking those big hits, but I sure as heck didn't see it coming."
Roethlisberger said he is "still very sore" from Upshaw's hit after getting drilled on the first series of the game.
The play was a lot like Scott's. Upshaw also came barreling down on a 5-yard clean run after he faked dropping into coverage. And like Scott, he also tackled Roethlisberger so hard that it knocked the wind out of quarterback.
"I'm hurting today as much as I was at any point I can think of in the last year," Roethlisberger said.
While the two hits were reminiscent of each other, the big difference was that Upshaw's drew a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer.
To many, the flag was debatable, but Head Coach John Harbaugh said he wouldn't criticize the call because of league policy. He was willing to say, however, that he doesn't have any advice to Upshaw on what to correct in the future.
"The way the rules are written is one thing; what's possible to accomplish is another thing," Harbaugh said Monday. "There's no way to coach Courtney out of that. He's coming full speed, he's getting down into the strike zone, and he's keeping his eyes up. He can't lift his head any higher than that.
"He also can't get his head off to the side because Ben's moving, and also the fact that if he gets his head off to the side, he has a real good chance of missing the tackle or hurting himself by dropping his head. We're never going to put our player in position to coach him to drop his head."
Congratulations To Orioles For Winning AL East
It's been 17 years since the Baltimore Orioles won the American League East division title, so there was HUGE cause for celebration Tuesday night.
The Orioles were crowned kings of the division in front of a sea of orange at Camden Yards – an announced crowd of 34,297 –after beating the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-2.
Let's hope the Orioles' advancement to the postseason is a good omen for the Ravens. The last time that happened, the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
Terrell Suggs and Torrey Smith were among the many Ravens to send their congratulations via Twitter.
Congrats to the O's!!!!! — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) September 17, 2014
Check out the celebration in the locker room and the front page of the sport section of The Baltimore Sun this morning.
Give Credit To Rick Wagner
It was one of the biggest questions of the offseason.
Could Rick Wagner really take over the right tackle position after Michael Oher left Baltimore via free agency?
After two weeks of the regular season, there have been holes in the running game and quarterback Joe Flacco has mostly stood upright in the pocket. Wagner should get some of the credit for that.
A fan asked CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown to share his observations on the second-year player.
"Wagner's play at right tackle is part of the reason why the Ravens' running game looks improved," Brown wrote. "Playing next to Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda is a blessing for Wagner, and he should continue improve. Run blocking is Wagner's strength, and speedy pass rushers will be his biggest challenge. However, Wagner has been poised without the false start penalties that former right tackle Michael Oher used to draw. Through two games, Wagner is showing why he won the starting job."
Ex-Raven Paul Kruger Off To 'Flying Start'
Wagner and the rest of the offensive line will have to keep an eye out for former Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger Sunday.
Kruger signed with the Cleveland Browns before the 2013 season, and you know he would like to get his hands on Flacco. Kruger is off to a "flying start" this season, says Brown, as he finished last week with a sack, pass deflection and three quarterback hits against New Orleans' Drew Brees. He also had a sack and five tackles in the opener against Pittsburgh.
His two sacks already this season comes after notching just 4.5 in his first year in Cleveland.
"Trying to block Kruger will be a challenge for Ravens tackles Eugene Monroe and Rick Wagner when the Ravens visit Cleveland this Sunday," Brown wrote. "The Browns move Kruger to either side of the defensive formation, making it more difficult for opponents to double-team Kruger consistently."
Ravens Climbing Power Rankings
Thursday's dominant win over the Steelers earned respect from NFL analysts, who pushed the Ravens up their power rankings after Week 2.
ESPN: No. 13 (moved up 7 spots)
"Joe Flacco was excellent against the Steelers' blitz. Flacco was 11-of-13 for 114 yards and two touchdowns when Pittsburgh committed extra pass-rushers. This week's game at Cleveland could be tricky, though."
SportingNews.com, Vinnie Iyer: No. 14 (moved up 3 spots)
*Note: Steelers still ranked ahead of Ravens at No. 12 *"That Steelers defense still isn't making impact plays, and Ben Roethlisberger had the offense out of sync, too. They need to lean more on ball-control with Le'Veon Bell to help on both fronts."
Fox Sports, Dan Schneier: No. 13 (moved up 3 spots)
"The Ravens bounced back by dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and showing improvement within Gary Kubiak's offensive scheme. Joe Flacco looked more comfortable and continued to utilize his new weapons Steve Smith and Owen Daniels. Strong play in the trenches and from the QB — that's when this team clicks."
SB Nation, Danny Kelly: No. 12 (moved up 5 spots)
ProFootballTalk.com, Mike Florio: No. 14 (didn't move)
"The Ravens took refuge last week in football. The Steelers wish they hadn't."
CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco: No. 14 (moved up 1 spot)
"That was an impressive bounce-back game against the Steelers. The defense looked much better than the first week."
NFL.com, Elliot Harrison : No. 14 (moved up three spots)
"Got much grief for keeping Baltimore one spot above Pittsburgh in the Power Rankings last week, despite the fact that the Ravens lost to the Bengals and the Steelers won their game. Then, of course, Baltimore topped Pittsburgh. Didn't love the penalties by the Ravens. Did love the use of the two-tight end sets. Did anyone start Owen Daniels (two touchdowns for Baltimore) in fantasy besides his Cousin Eddie and people in nine-tight end leagues?"
- There's still no word on whether new Ravens safety Will Hill will be reinstated from his six-game suspension for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. But Aaron Wilson reports there is "guarded optimism" that his suspension will be reduced when the NFL and NFLPA officially finalize a new drug policy. [Baltimore Sun]
- What is former Raven Ed Reed's take on the Pittsburgh Steelers? "You know as well as I do that Pittsburgh's not very good," Reed said. "Pittsburgh will get better as the season goes by the way they always do, as will the Ravens. It's hard to say what it all means, but I do know Pittsburgh's not very good." [The Baltimore Sun]
- How does Steve Smith stay so effective year after year? Former Dolphins defensive end and six-time Pro Bowler Jason Taylor explains in the video below. [CSNBaltimore.com]