Ravens' Suggs Continues Streak Despite Ailing Shoulder
Monday, January 19, 2009
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 18 -- The Baltimore Ravens' Terrell Suggs maintained his streak of never missing an NFL game, starting at linebacker despite a strained right shoulder.
It took a while, however, for Suggs to display the form that enabled him to have a team-high eight sacks during the regular season.
Initially, Suggs used only his left arm to shed blockers and appeared to make a point of avoiding contact with his right side. He did not have a tackle or sack in the first half.
He finally broke through for a sack of Ben Roethlisberger in the third quarter, then added another in the fourth quarter.
Playing in their 18th straight game without a bye, the battered Ravens were without cornerback Samari Rolle, who, like Suggs, was injured in Baltimore's playoff game against Tennessee. Neither Rolle (groin) nor Suggs practiced during the week leading up to the game.
Rolle was replaced by Frank Walker, but Fabian Washington, the other Ravens cornerback, was burned for a 65-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes.
The Ravens' thin secondary took another blow in the second quarter when Corey Ivy was flattened by a block by Limas Sweed. Ivy returned in the second half.
Ward Leaves Early
Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward left in the second quarter with a right knee injury and missed the entire second half.
The injury occurred on a tackle by Frank Walker after Ward hauled in an 11-yard pass with 6 minutes 54 seconds left in the first quarter. Ward left for a series, then returned to make a catch on the first play of the second quarter. He then left later in the period and did not return.
Ward finished with three catches for 55 yards, including a 45-yarder that set up a field goal. The reception moved him over the 1,000-yard mark for his playoff career.
Ward led the Steelers during the regular season with 82 receptions for 1,047 yards.
Not the Coldest Day
The temperature at game time was 26 degrees, with a wind chill of 15.
It began snowing Saturday night in Pittsburgh, and large flakes pelted Heinz Field most of Sunday morning. The snow let up a couple hours before the game, shortly before the tarp was lifted.
The snow returned in the form of flurries in the third quarter, but was not a factor.
Although it was cold, the weather was downright balmy compared to a few other home games in Steelers history. Pittsburgh played Cincinnati in 1977 when it was 2 degrees, and the Steelers and New England Patriots endured 5-degree weather in 1989.