Scott, Ivy, Ngata show how tough Ravens `D' can be

Ravens Gameday

Ravens 27 Steelers 0

November 27, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

Ray Lewis, the guy Sports Illustrated dubbed "God's Linebacker" in a recent cover story, knelt beside a motionless Ben Roethlisberger during the painful, suspenseful moments after a vicious sack by fellow linebacker Bart Scott in the first half of yesterday's 27-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If it looked like Lewis was praying, he was, but he also was begging Roethlisberger to get up.

"Ben and I are friends," Lewis said. "Before every game, when we see each other, we touch our hearts. When he went down, no matter how big the play was, you don't want to see that.

"I was just praying ... and I was saying, `Just make sure you get up. Your teammates are watching. Your family is out there somewhere. Just get up.' "

Roethlisberger did get up and leave the game temporarily with a bruised chest. His team, however, stayed down during the most complete performance by the 9-2 Ravens this season.

Cruel comparison

The play was slightly reminiscent of the big hit that Tony Siragusa put on Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon during the AFC championship game six seasons ago, but only slightly. The stage was bigger then and the tackle was nastier. This was just a clean, hard hit that leveled the Steelers quarterback, who already has had his share of physical challenges this year.

"That's probably the hardest I've ever been hit in my life," Roethlisberger said.

Ivy's comeback

It was a month and a half ago when the Ravens had to divert their flight home from Denver to get cornerback Corey Ivy emergency medical attention for a lacerated kidney, and the first doctors to treat him told him that he would not play again this season.

The Steelers probably wish he had taken that advice. Ivy intercepted a pass and forced the fumble that Adalius Thomas took to the house to give the Ravens a 24-point lead in the third quarter.

"I don't know that I've ever been around a tougher player than Corey Ivy," coach Brian Billick said.

If it seemed like every member of the defense wanted to talk about the little-but-lethal corner, Ivy just seemed grateful that he was able to get back so fast.

"They said I wasn't going to play again this year," he said, "but I got another opinion and our doctors said four to six weeks. That's what it turned out to be. I came back, and I've been able to continue to play the game I love."

Mea culpa, sort of

Don't know if I deserve credit for picking the Ravens correctly again yesterday. I did take them against the spread (they were favored by three points), so I guess it's fair to say I'm now 10-1 in Ravens games, but I thought it would be a tough, close game. It was anything but.

Quick turnaround

The bigger challenge for the Ravens, of course, comes Thursday, when they travel to Cincinnati to play a Bengals team that scored a convincing 30-0 victory in Cleveland yesterday.

"The plane leaves for Cincinnati in about five hours, I think," Billick quipped.

The Ravens looked invincible yesterday, but the Bengals will present a much bigger challenge. They are backed up to the wall in the AFC North, and they appear to be finding their stride, which could make for a long Thursday night.

"It's going to be tough," tight end Todd Heap said. "We know we are going to get their best effort. We're going to get their best game."

Give him a hand

If you ever had any doubt about the strength of the linemen who play in the NFL, you need only to have watched one play in the first half yesterday.

Steelers running back Willie Parker busted up the middle and appeared to be headed for a decent gain, especially because the only guy who could stop him at the line - Ravens rookie Haloti Ngata - was occupied with a blocker.

No problem. Ngata simply reached out with his free arm and slammed Parker in the chest, knocking him flat on his back. And Parker is one of the toughest guys in the league to bring down. Trust me, some of these guys really could crush a Volkswagen with their bare hands.

Not-so-terrible towels

Ravens and Steelers fans twirled towels as the teams took the field. Obviously, there were a lot more white towels than yellow Terrible Towels, but I think white towels are wimpy and imply that you care more about drying your hands on something clean than mopping up the remains of your opponent. But that's just me.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

The Peter Schmuck Show airs on WBAL (1090AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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