12:58 a.m.: Ravens fans are bummed out, check out their message boards at the Baltimore Sun's Web site.
12:40 p.m.: It was a win for the Steelers but a devastating one. Rookie first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall and veteran guard Kendall Simmons will both go on injured reserve and will be out for the season. Mendenhall, who had his first NFL start in the win over the Ravens, has a fractured shoulder. Simmons has "an achilles" according to coach Mike Tomlin. Add to that, Carey Davis, who is the third-string tailback, has an ankle sprain, Tomlin said. Andre Frazier, who was nearly motionless after a block he took on the opening kickoff will be fine, Tomlin said. That leaves Mewelde Moore as the only healthy running back on the team, and likely leaves a second-year man, Darnell Stapleton, as the starting right guard.
This may mean a fast recovery for fast Willie Parker, who missed tonight's game with a sprained left knee. The Steelers will need to have more than Moore to go into Sunday's game at Jacksonville. Big win for the Steelers, but at a very big price.
12:15 a.m. Jeff Reed's kick is good. Tough win for the Steelers, probably tougher than it needed to be. But in the NFL you take it and party on. We'll have more in a bit from postgame. Steelers 23, Ravens 20, Final.
12:12 a.m.: It's a Mewelde Moore world right now. But the question is: will they play for the FG or try to get the TD? They should try to get inside the 25 for Reed. Right now they're looking at a 52-yarder after that Keystone Kops handoff between Moore and Big Ben. Yikes.
12:10 a.m.: Just the start you want. Good field position, though Santonio Holmes gets drilled by Antwan Barnes on that play. First and 10 n the Steelers 43. See if the offense can wake up again.
12:02 a.m: It's officially Tuesday and a lot of folks, I'd say about one-third of the stadium, has left. For overtime? That's strange. I mean, in for a dime, in for a dollar on how late it is. Who would leave an OT game against the Ravens. Of course, except for a few plays, it's not been the most entertaining game of the 2008 season. Ravens get the kick. Here we go.
11:59 p.m.: Overtime. Steelers 20, Ravens 20. Even if they lose, it has to give the Ravens confidence that they could come into Heinz Field and play the Steelers even for 60 minutes. Considering how the Steelers had them down and seemingly out late in the third quarter and early fourth, give the Ravens credit for coming back.
11:55 p.m.: Can you say overtime? No question the Ravens don't want to make a mistake here and will take their chances with a coin flip and a chance to win it with one play or one kick from the reliable Jeff Stover. Let's see what happens in the final 0:46.
11:47 p.m.: Maybe Mewelde Moore was the answer all along? He's become the featured guy in what is looking more and more like a drive for a field-goal attempt to win it. The offense's job is to hold onto the ball and let Jeff Reed win it at the end. At least that's be best laid plans. No one here is convinced the offense can make that type of drive against the Ravens, but that's what needs to happen for the Steelers to go 3-1 and 2-0 in the division.
11:41 p.m.: Uh, you really can't let these guys back in the game this easily, can you? Considering the hole the Steelers put them in, that was in impressive drive by the Ravens and Flacco. I thought after the linebacker sandwich sack by Woodley and Harrison that they might fold up, but no. Nail-biter time and the offense, which has been spotty at best, now has to carry the load. To put a 76-yard drive together like the Ravens just did and eat up more than 5 minutes raised a few eyebrows here on press row. And caused much chagrin among the writers who have very tight deadlines and a moving storyline. The joys of covering night sporting events. Steelers 20, Ravens 20, 4:02 left in the 4th quarter.
11:36 p.m.: It was just announced in the press box that Carey Davis has an ankle injury and his return is questionable. The only healthy, full-time back is Mewelde Moore.
11:32 p.m.: Not the most creative goalline package, but at least the Steelers get it back to a one TD lead. And they brought Max Starks into the game on third down as an eligible receiver on the play. If you're going to pay a guy $7 mil a year to ride the bench, why not use his 6-foot-8 body to catch a pass on a tackle eligible play? I mean, why not? Steelers 20, Ravens 13, 9:19 left in the 4th quarter.
11:25 p.m.: Bart Scott missed Big Ben that time and No. 7 made him pay. So how does this offense follow up a great play to put them at the Ravens 10? Blows a second time out. They are making this a lot harder than it needs to be.
11:19 p.m.: Still a lot of time left in this one, more than 14 minutes, so if the Steelers want to finish this one off, the offense has to keep attacking the Ravens defense. Three-and-outs, which the offense has done for most of the night, will not get it done. Dick LeBeau is turning the hounds loose on Flacco, but that can only take you so far. The defense has to have some rest and the offense has to carry things down the stretch, too. Darnell Stapleton is making an good accounting for himself filling in for the injured Kendall Simmons.
11:14 p.m.: Steelers 17, Ravens 13, end of 3rd quarter.
11:11 p.m.: Your worst nightmare if you're the Ravens: you've got the defense of the Steelers on fire and now your rookie QB, who has looked great all night, is getting hammered by the linebackers. And the offense of the Steelers even looks to have picked up. I'm sure they'd love to have a long, time-consuming TD drive here. The Ravens won't give in easily, so you could see some of the most fierce play in this drive. The Ravens know they have to stop the Steelers here to get some momentum back.
11:07 p.m.: The crowd is on fire here, forcing the Ravens into that time out. This is what the Steelers wanted to do from the start in an attempt to rattle Flacco and the offense. And now with Willis McGahee out with an injury, they are more one-dimentional. Terrible Towels in abundance.
11:03 p.m.: Yeah, I'd say the Holmes TD gave them a lift. James Harrison is just so tough to control and there you have it, LaMarr Woodley and the defense make a play. Now, they have to keep it up to keep the Ravens on their heels. Steelers 17, Ravens 13, 3:54 to play in 3rd quarter.
10:58 p.m.: Before we write off Big Ben, that was a laser under pressure to the guy who can make big plays for you on offense. Santonio Holmes continues to be an electric player for this team. It was absolutely essential that they get points on that drive, and they did. Now we'll see if the special teams and defense feed off that. The crowd is getting back into it. Maybe they need a little help? Ravens 13, Steelers 10, 4:09 to play in 3rd quarter.
10:56 p.m.: OK, maybe that pretty innocuous play and the stupid Ravens penalty will give the offense a lift. How'd you like that block on Bart Scott by Santonio Holmes? I think he's learning from Hines Ward how to be a devastating blocker at that position.
10:51 p.m.: Another ugly offensive series, but at least Hines Ward finally caught a pass. The defense is going to have to hold here. Giving this offense 50 percent on third-down plays is terrible. Another long run and pass breakup by Polamalu. He's been pretty quiet tonight, but has a couple nice pass breakups. The offense must get rolling. Down 10 points, they need to get something this quarter, which has just under 6 minutes remaining. Someone's gotta make a play, but who's going to step up?
10:41 p.m.: It was just announced that Rashard Mendenhall has a left shoulder injury and his return is questionable. That should leave the running duties to Carey Davis. No knock on Davis, but if you're the Ravens, you have to think it's open season on Big Ben.
10:38 p.m.: What was that? Great stuff from Flacco. He's converting me. To convert a third-and-11 play for 26 yards and run all over the field to do it shows a cool you don't usually find in rookie QBs. And it's really starting to frustrate the Steelers. If this team is going to get back into the game, the defense is going to have to make a play.
10:31 p.m.: Darnell Stapleton is in at right guard for Kendall Simmons who was injured in the first half. It is Stapleton's first action in a game as a Steeler. He's in his second year out of Rutgers. But it doesn't help the offense, which continues to struggle. And gthey got lucky on the Carey Davis fumble.
10:30 p.m.: Some halftime stats to chew on: Ravens converted 5 of 10 third downs. Steelers 2 of 6. Flacco's first-half QB rating was 86.6; Roethlisberger's 28.7. Hines Ward has not had a reception yet.
10:14 p.m.: That, folks, was just a killer drive. Sloppy, but they got the job done. Being down 10 to a rookie QB on the road in front of a hostile crowd is not where a good football team finds itself at the half. But that's where the Steelers are. Their defense, which has played well early on, is now getting moved around quite easily. The offense continues to be a problem and it will be interesting to see what adjustments Mike Tomlin and Bruce Arians make at halftime. The Steelers get the ball to start the second half. Not to panic, but would you agree with me that points will be an absolute necessity on the opening drive in the second half? I'll see you in the second half. The team is booed off the field. Ravens 13, Steelers 3 at the half.
10:09 p.m.: You wouldn't call Le'Ron McClain shifty, but he just made a believer out of James Farrior and Ryan Clark. I can't help oobut be impressed by Flacco and his calm demeanor. No one covered Ray Rice on that play, thank goodness he lined up wrong. It's getting chippy out there (hockey term),
10:05 p.m.: Ike Taylor is overruled. Catch is good and the Ravens are driving again.
9:57 p.m.: Wow, was that brutal. Shoes lost, Ravens all over the place and Roethlisberger on his fanny a couple of times. It seems pretty simple: The Ravens are taking a page from the Eagles book and bringing guys hard. They aren't blitzing every play, but they are just pushing the O-Line around. And Ben is still hanging on to the ball an awful long time. This is looking like the last few games of 2007 and the Eagles game last week. The fans are booing the offense off the field, far from the festive mood that started this game.
9:54 p.m.: Even though they only got a field goal out of that drive, the Ravens looked pretty dominant. The Steelers are back at last year's disease, not getting off the field on third down. And this looks like it could be a game of field goals. Jeff Stover of the Ravens has been at this for 19 years, so he's pretty used to close games. If the Steelers offense needs to get going, it's right now. I can't put my finger on why they are flat, but they are. Maybe you guys see something I'm not. Ravens 6, Steelers 3, 3:48 left in the 2nd quarter.
9:37 p.m.: For those of you who wanted to see more Joe Flacco, YouTube has a good highlight clip of him as a Delaware Blue Hen. lt shows how he's the kind of guy who stands in there and delivers the ball. I guess this helped impress the Ravens.
9:34 p.m.: Whew, Polamalu saves the day.
9:29 p.m.: I'm getting an odd feeling about this game. I know defenses will dominate, but the Steelers offense looks a bit out of sync. No passes to Hines Ward yet? That's odd in itself. Joe Flacco, for this being his first road game and on a Monday night in front of a loud crowd and great defense, looks cool and composed. I guess the Ravens knew what they were doing on draft day to snag him.
9:25 p.m.: End of the 1st quarter, Steelers 3, Ravens 3. The defense looks good, the offense looks so-so. Actually, the offense would be great except for the interception and a couple of false start penalties on Kendall Simmons. I think the Steelers WRs should be able to do some work on a banged-up Ravens secondary, if, and that's a big if, they can give Ben Roethlisberger some time. And if he can avoid throwing another terrible pick. A long, time-consuming drive for a touchdown here would be in order.
9:20 p.m. The defense holds the Ravens to a FG, despite the good field position following the Roethlisberger pick. And note how Lawrence Timmons was covering a WR, Derrick Mason, down field on that third-down play. Nearly had the ball, too. Steelers 3, Raven 3, 0:18 left in the first quarter.
9:10 p.m.: So far, so good for the Steelers defense. James Harrison just looks so dominant at LB and in general, the defense looks quick and explosive. Let's see if the offense can match it with a short-field drive. Holy cow, what a terrible pass by Roethlisberger. Can you tell me who the receiver was supposed to be on that play? Wow, that's not good. Getting picked by a nose tackle dropping into coverage? Haloti Ngata? Ouch.
9:00 p.m.: Rashard Mendenhall is doing what he was billed to do. And Sean McHugh, the former Penn Stater, is proving to be an ideal lead blocker. Now if the Steelers can cut out the dumb penalties (2 illegal procedures against Kendall Simmons) they might be able to finish this drive. Of course, if you get the QB sacked, that usually will kill most drives.
Jeff Reed's 49-yarder FG is good. He's pretty automatic these days. Steelers 3, Ravens 0, 6:44 left in the 1st quarter.
8:55 p.m.: It was just announced in the press box that Andre Frazier has a spine injury and will not return. No more details were given.
8:46 p.m.: This is a tough start. Frazier has now been immobilized and put onto a back board. Again, no speculation here because we know nothing. But this place was very quiet for several moments. Now a smattering of applause. This is the terrible side to this sport. Big men running full speed into each other and you are going to have this happen. They have done what they can for Frazier and now he's being carted off. As soon as we have an update, we'll bring it to you.
8:41 p.m.: Great lick by Lawrence Timmons to start the game. He's become a stud special teams player. Andre Frazier's the injured player now and is another guy who has been a good special teams player. This is taking a while. When we hear about his condition, we'll report it.
8:37 p.m.: Giving it the old college try, the Steelers elect to defer on the kick and go on defense first. Given how the offense has played lately, that sounds about right. Seriously, don't you love the mustard yellow helmets? At least they have block numbers on the jerseys. So much better than what they normally wear.
8:24 p.m.: Intros going on for famous (or not so famous) Steelers from the '80s. Big cheers for Kevin Greene, Carnell Lake, Louis Lipps, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley. Weegie Thompson, Bryan Hinkle and others here, too.
It's Monday Night Football in and while this has lost some of the luster of what MNF used to be, it's still a pretty big deal. It still puts our city on thae national stage and with everything that's going on in the economy these days, maybe gives viewers respite. And for a guy like Rashard Mendenhall, who is making this his national coming out party, it adds a bit more pressure. Monday Night Football used to be such a big deal that it was must-watch TV. Probably not so much anymore, but it still draws good ratings. The Terrible Towels are out in force, we're about 10 minutes from kickoff on a perfect weather night.
One starting lineup switch for the Steelers: Bryant McFadden starts in place of Deshea Townsend, who is active for the game.
8 p.m.: After major surgery from folks at the Post-Gazette and the Steelers staff, I now have Internet access. It took just an hour, 45 minutes, but hey, that's why what we do is fun. Always challenges. A hats off to Wayne Gilchrist in our tech services department for saving this blog (and me) for the evening. Now we're going to work.
Tonight's inactives: Steelers -- Limas Sweed, Willie Parker, Tony Hills, Trai Essex, Donovan Woods, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel and Dennis Dixon (3rd QB). Ravens -- Samari Rolle, Evan Oglesby, Dawan Landry, Nick Greisen, Oniel Cousins, David Hale, Kelly Gregg and Troy Smith (3rd QB).
5:48 p.m.: I'm about ready to head over to Heinz Field for tonight's game, but thought I'd drop this You Tube clip on you. I'm sure Steelers fans would like to see a bit of this tonight.
4:15 p.m.: Driving to work about 45 minutes ago, downtown is already in a festive mood for tonight's Ravens-Steelers Monday Night Football game. I drove past the lots near PNC Park and they are already full of tailgaters getting "ready" for tonight's contest. All around the Point, and particularly at the Hilton, you saw a lot of folks in Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu jerseys. They are out in force tonight.
Saw one group with throwback jerseys. The Steelers will wear the throwbacks tonight with the mustard yellow helmets. In a way I've always thought those were really cool uniforms. They were so vastly different from the regular uniform (though I do wish they'd go back to block numbers) that when I saw them last season I really liked them. We'll see if it's enough to throw off the Ravens, who will bring in a very good defense. Maybe they will act as a magic shield for Big Ben, who is going to be running for his life tonight if the offensive line and playcalling don't improve from last week's debacle in Philly.
I'll be heading over around 6 with some folks from the office (Bob Dvorchak and Gene Collier). I'll have a pregame report with inactives and some scene, then be blogging throughout the game. Kickoff is approximately 8:35 p.m.