4:11: Funny, but the deep, little voice on KDKA-TV just gave us the 411 and informed us we won't have a Heidi situation, and we're leaving the Tennessee-Houston game (can you believe Jeff Fisher's fourth-down pass call instead of a Rob Bironas field-goal try? CBS' Bill Cowher couldn't).
Oops, wrong Heidi situation. Not Klum, but the old movie interrupting a game's ending... or in this case, the Steelers-Ravens beginning.
4:14: All ready to go, but let's pause for one final CBS message: Cowher -- who used to coach some AFC team, right? -- had these thoughts earlier in the week about a game that, uh, his teams lost on several occasions in Baltimore [Blog 'n' Gold comments in brackets]:
"I don’t think there is any question that the defenses are going to be the storyline of this game. [Coach Cahr really puttin' it all aht there, huh? As much of a riverboat gambler as an analyst...[It may come down to which defense can score the most points. They are obviously two defenses that have the same mantra of stopping the run and pressuring the quarterback. Nobody does it better than these two defenses
(On Baltimore’s Ed Reed vs. Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu): Not taking anything away from Bob Sanders, but this game features two of the best safeties in the game today in Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu in terms of playmaking and playing the defender run and the play-to-pass. These two excel in that. Ed Reed is a guy that Pittsburgh will certainly have to be aware of. You have to make sure that you are moving him with your eyes. [Wow, how much iron would those eyes have to pump and get that strong?] If he can get a jump on the ball, he’s as good as anybody in the league in anticipating things. Based on what Pittsburgh does, you’re going to find Troy Polamalu up near the line of scrimmage a lot. The thing that Pittsburgh wants to do is make Joe Flacco become the guy that beats them. A lot of the run defense that Pittsburgh will employ will have Troy very close to the line of scrimmage. He’s going to be a lot closer to the line of scrimmage than Ed Reed.
(Keys to game for Pittsburgh): The bottom line for the Pittsburgh offense is third down. That is going to be a big key for them. They can’t get involved in third-and-long situations. If they can keep it at third-and-short, it will nullify the Baltimore blitz.
(Keys to game for Baltimore): They have to get their running game going. It’s going to be very important for them to be patient with their running game because they don’t want to put it all on the rookie quarterback in this type of game with this type of magnitude. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out and threw on some of the running situations, but ultimately it’s going to be important that they establish the run and be patient.
(On magnitude of game in AFC North division standings): Even if Pittsburgh loses, they will still be able to control their destiny to a degree. A Pittsburgh loss just makes it tougher because they still have to go down to Tennessee. Obviously a Pittsburgh win locks it up. If Baltimore wins this game, it puts the pressure back on Pittsburgh’s shoulders, but they will still control their own destiny.
Inactives: Steelers -- No. 3 QB Dennis Dixon, CB Fernando Bryant, LB Bruce Davis, OT Tony Hills, DL Scott Paxson, DE Orpheus Roye, and injured starters OT Marvel Smith and DE Brett Keisel. Ravens -- No. 3 Todd Bouman, WR Terrance Cooper, WR Marcus Maxwell, CB Evan Ogelsby, RB Ray Rice, RB Jalen Parmele, OT David Hale and OT Oniel Cousins.