Harbaugh Dedicates Win To Fans

The Ravens swept the regular-season series against Pittsburgh for the first time since 2006.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Monday, November 7th, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Categories: Garrett Downing, Uncategorized, Week 9 vs Steelers

Baltimore Ravens fans had suffered through enough heartbreak against Pittsburgh.

The second-half collapse in last year’s playoffs. The regular-season loss last year at M&T Bank Stadium with the AFC North crown on the line. The 2008 loss at Heinz Field in the AFC Championship game.     

Each loss stung fans as much as it wounded players and coaches.                                           

All of that changed Sunday night when Joe Flacco led an improbable 92-yard drive to complete a fourth quarter comeback and take down the Steelers 23-20 at Heinz Field.

Head Coach John Harbaugh knew what the win meant to the fans.

“First of all, congratulations to all the fans in Baltimore,” Harbaugh said to open his postgame press conference. “Congratulations to everyone back in Baltimore, who was watching this game on television tonight, who jumped off their couch when Joe Flacco threw that pass to win that game. Congratulations to you all.

“This is as much for you as it is for us. It’s us together.”

The late touchdown catch by Torrey Smith flipped the script on the hard-felt losses that the Steelers have handed the Ravens in recent years. Coming into this season, the Ravens had a 2-5 record against Pittsburgh during the Harbaugh era.

But a dominating Week 1 performance and a come-from-behind effort on Sunday showed that the Ravens are taking the necessary steps to get past their division nemesis.

“It’s huge,” Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said about the victory. “It’s our division rivals. If you think about it, this is the only team in the world that’s capable to play like we play, and can match us blow for blow, just like they did tonight.”

The victory marked the first time since 2006 and just the second time in franchise history that the Ravens have swept the season series against the Steelers. That season was the last time the Ravens have hosted a playoff game, which was a nice reward for fans’ dedication throughout the season.

For much of the last decade, the Steelers have stood in the way of the Ravens having homefield advantage in the playoffs and getting back to the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh has knocked Baltimore out of the postseason in two of the last three seasons, with both games coming at Heinz Field.

Sunday night’s victory puts Baltimore in position to host a home playoff game, if they are able to continue their winning ways against division rivals Cincinnati (6-2) and Cleveland (3-5).

“What this really means to me is that we are 6-2, we beat Pittsburgh two times, and we put ourselves in a good position to win the division,” Flacco said.

If recent history holds true, that could likely mean another postseason matchup with the Steelers. This year, however, Ravens fans would be rewarded with the game coming to their home stadium.

“We swept them, but don’t be fooled, we’re going to have to see this team in January,” Suggs said. “We just positioned ourselves for them to have to come to M&T so we can do it.”

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