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Live from Heinz Field -- Dec. 27
December 27, 2009 - Buck Frank
Halftime report: Steelers 20, Ravens 10
Ben Roethlisberger has picked up where he left off last week with nearly 200 yards passing in the first half. The game nearly changed when Terrell Suggs almost picked off Roethlisberger at the 2-yard line late in the second quarter. Roethlisberger then hit Mike Wallace on a 45-yard strike, and the Steelers scored a few players later to increase their lead from 13-10 to 20-10.
The crucial point, though, is coming in the fourth quarter where the Steelers have blown too many games this year.
The Steelers aren't getting any help from the Miami Dolphins, who are struggling right now against the Houston Texans. New England is helping out by routing Jacksonville, and the Steelers may need the Patriots' help again next week against the Texans.
Even if the Steelers lose and Houston wins, the Steelers will incredibly stay alive if the Jets and Broncos both lose.
Almost an hour until kickoff:
James Harrison will be playing for the Steelers today. The inactive list includes Troy Polamalu, Chris Kemoeatu, Keenan Lewis, Carey Davis, Kraig Urbik, Sunny Harris and newly acquired Joey Galloway. Charlie Batch is the third QB.
Ed Reed is INACTIVE for the Ravens, despite what may have been said on TV. The other notable players out for the Ravens include linebacker Tavares Gooden and left tackle Jared Gaither. Gaither's absence will move rookie Michael Oher over to the left, and Oneil Cousins will start at right tackle.
Welcome from sunny Heinz Field. At least the sun is out now, 1 1/2 hours before kickoff. The Pittsburgh area is not expecting any heavy snow -- maybe a dusting later in the day -- so weather shouldn't be a factor.
That means both offenses should be in high gear. Steelers-Ravens games are usually hard-hitting, defensive games, but that type of game is not expected today. The Ravens' secondary is banged up, and we all know how the Steelers' secondary has been playing lately.
Of course, both teams need to win today to help their playoff chances. We're awaiting the inactive lists to see if linebacker James Harrison will be dressing today. Although he hasn't been much of a factor the last few games, his absence could have a negative ripple effect on the linebacking corps.
Safety Ed Reed is also doubtful for the Ravens, but in a game like this, he may try and give it a go.
Not too many Ravens fas were seen outside of the stadium today -- not even close to the amount of cheeseheads that were here last week.