For 16th-year head coach Mike Tomlin, the rivalry matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers is nothing new to him. In the end, the game will largely always come down to the final possession or the final kick.
More often than not, that’s what’s happened in the storied Steelers-Ravens rivalry since the Ravens were founded in 1996. This year, though the game will not have big names like Ben Roethlisberger, Terrell Suggs, Lamar Jackson and more, it will still be a terrific matchup once again.
Speaking with Steelers.com’s Bob Pompeani Saturday for the Keys to the Game segment for the team’s website, Tomlin stated that the matchup will be “Rock’em Sock’em Robots” and that the team that handles adversity the best and doesn’t blink. That’s nothing revealing from Tomlin, but the use of multiple Tomlinisms ahead of the matchup surely was.
“It’s Rock’em Sock’em Robots. For those of us that are 50 years old, we remember that toy. That’s how these two teams come together,” Tomlin stated to Pompeani, according to video via Steelers.com. “It’s more about smiling in the face of adversity. There’s going to be plays made on both sides. You could put about 90 seconds on the clock and spot the ball and then see what happens. That’s how these two teams unfold.
“For us, particularly for our young players and the concentration of young players on offense, we can’t get frustrated by the natural ebbs and flows that happens in the game,” Tomlin added. “We gotta cut our eyelids off if we’re blinkers; it’s going to be that type of day. We’ve gotta stay in the fight. Usually the group that stays in the fight, that has a certain amount of resolve, that doesn’t let adversity get the best of them is the group that prevails in this matchup.”
When the Steelers and Ravens meet up, it’s usually always going to be a knockdown, drag-out battle time and time again. The physicality and the overall hatred — though respectful — has made the rivalry overall through the years. It will be a hard-fought battle, one that will likely come down to the final possession, much like Tomlin stated with the “90 seconds” comment.
Throughout the rivalry, the games have often come down to the final possession, the final play, the final kick. That’s just how these two teams are built and how they like to play. Of course, there have been a few blowouts here and there, but historically the matchup comes down to the final possession.
In recent years the Steelers have dominated the matchup, winning four straight. On Sunday, a win over Baltimore would tie the largest win-streak for either team in the rivalry at five straight games. That shows that the Steelers haven’t blinked in the face of adversity and done enough to win the games, much like the matchups in 2021, which came down to a failed 2-point conversion from Jackson to Mark Andrews for a Steelers win, and a game-winning field goal in overtime by Chris Boswell after yet another fourth-quarter comeback by Ben Roethlisberger on the road in his final Steelers-Ravens tilt.
Now, it’s up to new faces to emerge in the rivalry on both sides, especially on the Steelers offense. Even with new faces, don’t expect the style of play to change anytime soon.