Vonta Leach had "Big Snack" for dinner.
The Ravens fullback flattened Steelers mammoth, 325-pound nose tackle Casey Hampton – who eats a pregame hot dog provided by a heckling fan before every game at M&T Bank Stadium – during the second quarter of Sunday's 23-20 loss.
It was just part of what was a big day for Baltimore's Pro Bowl fullback. He had a handful of crushing blocks and caught four passes for 40 yards. He had never caught that many passes or posted that many yards as a Raven.
Leach's shot on Hampton was definitely the highlight. It was reminiscent of outside linebacker Jarret Johnson's hit on retired Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward last year.On a Ray Rice run up the middle, Leach shifted a couple steps to his left from a split tight end position. Matt Birk snapped the ball and let Hampton come free up the middle as the center climbed to the second level.
But just when Hampton had running back Ray Rice in his crosshairs, Leach totally blindsided the Steeler, blowing the five-time Pro Bowler onto his back.
"It was just being a competitor," Leach said. "It was a play we worked on all week and I don't think he saw me coming. So, hey, I had a nice shot on him."
Leach dismissed the notion that the block was a momentum builder for the offense. Rice gained six yards on the run, putting Baltimore on the 4-yard line. But the Ravens failed to get it into the end zone from there, and settled for a 23-yard field goal and a 6-3 lead.
"I think it was just a good block," Leach said. "He thought he was going to make a play in the backfield and I came out of nowhere to hit him."
Leach hadn't had four catches in a single game since 2007, when he had five for 26 yards while a member of the Houston Texans. He now has surpassed last year's totals with 16 grabs for 119 yards this season, and is on pace for a career-high 159 receiving yards.