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It’s a given that emotions will be running high in Pittsburgh this Sunday.
But keeping control of their tempers will be paramount for the Ravens – especially when the Steelers are trying to turn Baltimore’s aggression against them.
“They can bring that [emotion] out in you,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s kind of what they do, part of their plan. So we’ve got to understand that.”
Last year, Baltimore committed 20 penalties in two games against the Steelers, including 11 penalties for 113 yards at Heinz Field. They were a large reason why Baltimore was dealt a 23-20 loss.
Three penalties were of the 15-yard variety. Tom Zbikowski was hit with grabbing a facemask and Haloti Ngata and Oniel Cousins were each flagged for personal fouls. Terrell Suggs was penalized for a 10-yard illegal block above the waist.
Cousins’ blunder pushed the Ravens out of field goal range in the fourth quarter. A holding penalty on departed wide receiver Kelley Washington wiped a Willis McGahee touchdown off the board.
Asked if the Steelers have a history of trying to get the Ravens to lose their cool, Suggs sarcastically said, “Why would you think that?”
“Of course not,” he said. “They have nice guys over there. … We’re not little boys. We’re men. We should know when we’re getting baited into something. We’ve just got to get them between the whistles.”
Still, Suggs feels there are some times when a player has to let his emotions fly. He said it all depends on the situation in the game, but that a penalty can sometimes pump up a team.
Suggs was personally impressed by the way Harbaugh “went to bat” in Cincinnati when Suggs was flagged for roughing the passer. Harbaugh vehemently argued the call and was later fined $15,000 for making contact with a referee.
“If it’s early in the game, a good personal foul might be exactly what your team needs,” Suggs said. “If your coach chop sueys a ref, it might be what your team needs.
“If it’s a pivotal point in the game, it’s third down and you’ve got a clear shot at the quarterback and it’s one of those iffy things, you probably don’t take the shot just to make sure you don’t put it in the hands of the ref. Your mind really has to be in this game. It’s more mental than physical.”