It's the rarest of sights. Two teams in the AFC North Division with functional motor skills on the same football field at the same time. Baltimore puts their vaunted undefeated season on the line in Heinz Field against the 2-1 Steelers. If you blog it, they will jump. * * *OK, Overtime For Rills This Time 12:17 — You'd think an overtime game would be more exciting than that — maybe on a night's rest, it will have been — but with so many errors, it reminded me of Mid-American Conference football. So in the end, it worked for me. You stayed up the entire time, and for that, you deserve a medal. Unfortunately, I'm all out of medals, so how about a nice pleasant River City Ransom-esque smile? (They're free!) Sleep soundly, and I'll reconnoiter with y'all in the next live blog. 12:16 — Snap. Hold. Kick. It's ... inches inside the goalposts. The game mercifully ends, as does Baltimore's perfect season. 20

2312:15 — The rest of the footballs will be thrown to Mewelde Moore. He gets about six yards on the pass and Jeff Reed will line up for a 46-yard line. The anticipation is palpable. The palpitation is anticipated. It all comes down to th... oh, one of those cheap-ass timeouts right before the snap. 12:14 — Oh, levity! Moore atones for his big yardage play by tackling his own quarterback for a 4-yard loss. 12:13 — Instead of having to pick up the blitz on 300-pound dudes, they decide to throw a short pass to him, who takes it for a huge gain into Jeff Reed Should Make This territory. 12:12 — Aww, look at Moore try to block a lineman. That was precious. 12:10 — If "Jacked Up!" ever deserved a Renaissance, that tackle was the reason. Antwan Barnes levels Santonio Holmes on the punt return, but the ball is still at the generously-positioned 40-something-yard line. 12:09 — On a big third down, Joe Flacco gets snarfled by the D-line. Puntin' time. 12:07 — Is it? Might it? But of course. Clipping penalty on the Ravens. The referee pointed to the correct culprits, but accidentally said "defense". Imagine if Ed Hochuli had made that mistake. 12:06 — True to form, there were two fouls on the kickoff to Figurs. Sadly, they're both on Baltimore. The game starts at the 15-yard line. 12:0212:02 — Baltimore wins the toss, they've elected to call dibs on kickball receive. There aren't many sports in which "being kicked to" is a desired result. 12:02 — And now to bring four members from each team to midfield to do the coin toss. Luckily, there are four uninjured players on both teams. Actually, Not Overtime Just Yet, Still Fourth Quarter 12:00 — They have to bring the teams back on the field to run off seven seconds, because the penalty wasn't supposed to incur a runoff. Play action Hail Mary time. Overtime 11:59 — Now to decide who gets the ball first. Are they gonna opt for Eenie Meenie Miney Moe? Ah, no, the coin flip instead. Bold choice. Fourth Quarter 11:58 — Joe Flacco kneels down to kill the clock, which is helped by an illegal formation. 11:57 — Ray Lewis is pumped up on the sidelines. He's ready for some overtime-age. Looking at him, it makes me wonder: is the vest on underneath the shoulder pads? After all, someone might need a quickie postgame Eucharist. You always have to be prepared. 11:56 — Just so we're clear, four running backs are on the sidelines with injuries. Parker, Mendenhall, McGahee, and McClain. It's the highly anticipated Mewelde Moore v. Ray Rice showdown! Certainly you started both of them on your fantasy team this weekend, right? 11:55 — It was about time for another injury. Le'Ron McClain limps around then finally kneels to the ground, forcing Baltimore to eat that final timeout. Mmm. Raspberry! 11:54 — Yamon Figurs does an excellent job of letting the punt bounce an extra 15 yards, then just batting it out of bounds. I taught him that move. Ball's at the 13-yard line. 11:52 — A crucial third down pass gets redirected by Corporal Burgundy Blazervest. Time to punt. 11:51 — No, seriously, they're trying to get Mewelde Moore as involved in the offense as possible. They just tried throwing it to him deep down the sideline. (It didn't work, natch.) 11:49 — Right down to the two-minute warning (Warning: this final two minutes will take ten minutes), the Steelers ride the Mewelde Moore Midnight Train To Damn Near Midfield. Somewhere Lane Kiffin is shouting at his TV, "SEND IN JEFF REED!" Just kidding. Lane Kiffin doesn't currently have a TV. It was repossessed by an Oakland-area Repo Man. 11:45 — Kornheiser loves Mike Tomlin (I'm assuming), because he's "flamboyantly articulate." I don't know how that's any better than "your shit's retarded and you talk like a fag." 11:41 — Le'Ron McClain runs over a Steelers defender, defers the obvious "Die Hard" reference (for, if no other reason, because it's spelled differently), and ties the game. Yick. How'd both teams score 20 points? Apiece? 20

2011:40 — Just over five minutes left, and Flacco heaves it to Mason, who scampers down to the 5-yard line. I get shivers every time a game comes moderately close to a tie at the end of regulation. Can't imagine why. 11:39 — And now for another subliminal White Castle commercial. The Ravens give up another shitty sack. 11:38 — Wow, a couple of back-to-back first downs by the white-and-purple. Wasn't aware they had any left in them. 11:37 — Baltimore goes for a tying score, but more to the point, WHAT THE HELL WAS RAY LEWIS WEARING IN THAT INTERVIEW? 11:34 — Cut to a taped interview with Ray Lewis. I'm sure he's saying something really poignant in relation to a football-versus-life schema, but he's wearing a sleeveless burgundy sportcoat. I can't take any advice from that kind of outfit. 11:33 — Mewelde Moore? Well, he's no ... um, who's the current Steelers' #1 running back? Amos Zereoue? Regardless, Moore falls short of the endzone, and Pittsburgh takes the easy three. 13

2011:32 — Down on the goalline, Pittsburgh brings in their 31 tight-end formation. 11:29 — That has to be a made-up stat. Ben's passer rating when touched by the defense: 81.9. In other statistics, Ben's passer rating when touched by his girlfriend: 143.1. 11:26 — There's no The Who song for what's going on here. Roethlisberger hits Nate Washington for a huge gain down to the 10-yard line. 11:23 — Kornheiser is impressed with Tomlin calling the football field "the grass," calling it "flowery language." If that's poetic by football standards, I'd hate to hear football's version of obscenity. (Alternate punch line: NFL players talk about "the grass" all the time. They also talk about the football field. Oh! [rimshot]) 11:17 — An unnecessarily large third-and-short for Baltimore. And, yes, it didn't go smoothly. Third Quarter 11:14 — Baltimore climbs out of its shocked shell just enough to add a few yards on the ground as the clock winds down to a creep. 11:13 — All right, Sussman. Enough with the sweeping declarative statements. Steelers reach 4th down and punt. 11:11 — Finding the playbook from 2005 tucked away in Troy Polamalu's fro. The ball's moving fluidly down the field and into the Ravens' side of the field. 11:09 — Nice dropback, Flacco Niño. Too bad your ass got saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacked. 11:08 — OH NO! Heinz Field is playing AC/DC over the P.A. system during a game specifically demarcated for "The Who" discography. Get Norby on the line PRONTO! 11:06 — How will Flacco respond to the turnaround, Jaworski asks? Excretion of urine might be a good start. 11:03 — This ... just changed really quickly. Flacco got pancaked by two Steeler-ers, the ball squirted out directly toward the endzone, and LaMarr Woodley brought it in for seven. Oh, and there was no penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, because only one member jumped into the stands. I don't think I've ever heard a referee so much as acknowledge, in English words, acceptable celebrating. 13

1711:00 — And the latest The Who song: "Pinball Wizard." Actually that's acceptable, given that Holmes bounced off three different men wearing a hint of purple. Unfortunately for the first two-and-a-half quarters, the Steelers were like a pinball game in that the fans were half ready to tilt the machine in order to get the ball moving in the right direction. 10:58 — Now I have to retract about 80 percent of my Steelers jokes, or just take the fish out of the barrel and give them a proper burial. Roethlisberger tosses one to Santonio Holmes, who evades a three Ravens d-backs (not exactly the easiest thing to do) and puts the Steelers in the end zone finally. 13

1010:56 — Pittsburgh hasn't had the ball as far as their own 33 since the second drive of the game. I think it's fair to give Pittsburgh moral victories at this juncture. 10:53 — And another fourth down. Know the difference between a Joe Flacco and a hockey mom? One passing touchdown. 10:52 — More love for that now-officially 12.4-second scramble by Flacco. Reminds me of one Donovan McNabb had a couple years ago. 10:47 — Here's a positive from that series that ended quickly with a 4th and 16 punt. No sacks! 10:42 — The Steelers, according to that outro music, "Won't Get Fooled Again." In the strictest sense, this is accurate. It's tough to execute a second foolish gambit on a team with the first one lasts all game. (Dear God, it's me, Matt. I don't ask for much, but if you could have ESPN play, I dunno, an actual obscure Who Song like "Boris The Spider," I'd be sort of thankful until the next live blog. Amen, adieu, and have a rotten day.) 10:41 — Gosh, in all that excitement, I hardly noticed that it quickly became fourth down. I also hardly noticed that Rashard Mendenhall seems injured. (Or bored with the game.) The punt lands just outside the 5-yard line. 10:39 — Excuse me, but how long did that play just last? Flacco danced around in the backfield for about 15 seconds, which is something you're supposed do on the Disney family of networks after you retire, not during your first year. Flacco eventually strikes a wide receiver downfield for a hell of a first down. Okay, so Baltimore has an offense after all. I'm taking several things back tonight evidently. 10:37 — Mark Clayton : wide receiver :: Molina : catcher. One of the Claytons executes a pretty ineffective endaround. 10:34 — The screen falls short ... but wait, it's fumbled! But wait, it dances for a first down! But wait, it bounces back behind the down line! And the world works itself out. 10:32 — Pittsburgh starts with the ball. This will be fun, albeit short-lived. Halftime Adjustments Pittsburgh: "Get sacked less." Baltimore: "We scored too much. Please advise." Halftime Entertainment And now, an uplifting story. As in, this gives Amish carnies everywhere some hope that their county fair can be exciting, too: Click to view You Saw This Coming From A Mile Away 10:18 — Chris Berman: "Wake Up Maggie, I think I got something to say to you. It's late september and I really should be back at school." HAHA! Because, see, it's September ... guffaw ... and Rod Stewart ... chortle ... hasn't been relevant in 20 years! Ben ROFLsberger! Second Quarter 10:17 — Ballsy move by coach Mike Tomlin to send Roethlisberger out there to take a knee. There are so many ways he could get injured. Fortunately, he stays healthy and the Steelers ride a wave of boos into the locker room. 10:14 — Uh-uh. Heinz Field officials scramble to install electric lights in the tens digit of the scoreboard. Joe Flacco hits Daniel Wilcox and throws his first NFL TD. 13

310:13 — Offsetting personal fouls doesn't move the ball. But you know what does? Offsides penalties. Baltimore catches a break and, like an inopportune time to draw the card "Advance to Boardwalk," move up 4 spaces. 10:11 — Um. (1) The Steelers failed to cover Ray Rice on the left side. (2) Flacco throws it to Rice, but he misses and falls. (3) Oh, don't worry, it was an illegal formation anyway. Like a homemade Chance card in Monopoly, go back 5 spaces. 10:09 — This has to be a visual typo. A screen pass to Le'Ron McClain went for 25 yards and sets up B'more inside the 5-yard line. 10:06 — There have probably been as many, if not more, injury timeouts as field goals. 10:06 — The Ravens get a Derrick Mason incompletion reviewed and reversed into a completion. If only they could have that luxury on every down. 10:02 — Having received the punt a few steps ahead of midfield, Baltimore gets two minutes to move into field goal range. 10:00 — Remember when I said there were two teams in the AFC North with football skills? I tearfully retract that sentence. 9:57 — They are finally asking what's wrong with the Steelers offense, after numerous quarters of paltry points. Their discussion is interrupted by Roethlisberger getting pounced on by one of three Ravens linemen. Pittsburgh proves they're not the only Pennsylvanians who can boo. 9:56 — Roethlisberger avoids the sack by his own wobbly feet, but can't shake off the sack by the more difficult-to-avoid-feet Terrell Suggs. 9:56 — Ron Jaworski highlights some of Flacco's great throws on that last drive. Not pictured: A throw that directly resulted in points. 9:54 — You have to give them credit. They delayed the field goal as long as possible. A fourth and goal on the 2-yard line turns into three delicious points. (New rule. After the fourth try, field goals are worth two points. Get the ball in the freakin' endzone, somebody.) 6

39:51 — Gak. Maybe Joe Flacco should try something other than the 17-step drop on the next play. 9:51 — A Keanu-caliber "whoa." First and goal. This is a new one for Baltimore. 9:49 — Baltimore's offense is sniffing the 100-yard mark for the game. And it's not even halftime. Goddamn overachievers, they are. 9:47 — Well, shut me up. A successful screen to Willis McGahee brings the Ravens a first down. 9:45 — Let's see ... 3rd, and 3, for Baltimore, and they're in the fortysomething field goal territory. Can you guess what happens? Why not just drag out Stover at this point and kick the FG in case they fumble or throw the ball to one of the Steelers. Heck, why not just do that on first down? 9:44 — An admission. I actually half forgot Billick wasn't the coach of the Ravens anymore. Which is why, kids, you should always at least fake preparation for any live blog. 9:43 — Twisting the knife into the 17 hardcore Ravens fans, MNF looks back at the Brian Billick years. 9:41 — "The funniest iPod ever." Apple struck a deal with the Sklar Brothers? 9:39 — Tony K shares a columnlette on Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident, appendix removal, and other Operator-related maladies. 9:33 — Wow, beautiful throw by Flacco to Derrick Mason. Too bad it caused Mason to get American Samoaned. 9:32 — I sure hope Al Davis replaces Lane Kiffin with Matt Millen. 9:28 — It finally makes sense. The flags are the same color as the helmets. They're trying to confuse the refs into thinking they already called a penalty on the opposing team. I bet you're wondering how they know it's going to be a penalty against Baltimore? Well, they don't. They just have to hope. (I never said it was a great plan.) First Quarter 9:27 — Ah, I hate doing this, because it means I've gone too obscure. But if you don't understand the scoreboard squares, here's your dead giveaway. 9:25 — Did I just see a movie trailer with Leo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe in it? Damn, one of those guys better be the antagonist. I don't have the constitution to cheer for both of them at the same time. 9:20 — True to Baltimorian form, Flacco leads the team square in the middle of field goal territory, then throws a near-interception. Three points at a time. Whee! It's like watching the Phoenix Suns play! Matt Stover gets it to go. 3

39:19 — More talk about Joe Flacco's unlikely rise to the first team on offense on Week One. Kornheiser notes how it takes "bizzare events" for a rookie QB to reach there. The Atlanta Falcons have their own definition of "bizarre." One of them is, "oh, shit, Joey Harrington again?" 9:17 — That's right. He transfered from Pitt. Square it. On a more pressing note, it seems that ESPN is emptying out their The Who albums on MNF. Furthermore, they're having trouble playing anything but AC/DC during their college football games. It's sad to see even ESPN is feeling the effects of the economic crisis by only having the budget to play songs from two different bands. 9:16 — Tony relates Baltimore's offense so far (minus-six yards) to Michigan's first half against Wisconsin. (Fuck. Wrong college game on the bingo card.) But he fails to relate Flacco's college helmet as a mock Wolverine helmet. And because of that, Flacco just converted from 2nd and 21. (!?) 9:14 — Kornheiser's proud of his analysis of the poorly-conceived idea of throwing the ball at "the big fat guy." Then again, if it were me, and I wanted a cheap laugh, I'd throw it as hard as I could at the fat guy, just too see if I could hit the gut, eliciting a Pillsbury-type giggle. 9:14 — Nevertheless, Baltimore continues the Steelers' offensive drive by losing two yards on first down. 9:12 — Roethlisberger throws a direct strike to Haloti Ngata. [I'm not gonna say it ... I'm not gonna say it ... I'm not gonna say it ... but it's so gawddamn easy I can't help myself] Wow, I tell ya, what was he thinking? There was Ngata receiver in sight! 9:11 — In a game that looked extremely exciting a month ago, the Vikings play the Saints next Monday night. Makes you happy about tonight's Fieldgoalathon. At least these teams can kick field goals. 9:09 — Perhaps Baltimore should pretend they're playing against another Ohioan team. Kent State, for example. Instead, reality sets in and Baltimore punts again. 9:02 — You know what they say about buys with big hair. They kick big field goals. Jeff Reed gives the Steelers the lead. 0

39:01 — Corey Ivy, see, a bumblebee killed his father, so in a fit of vengeance, just pummeled Roethlisberger on a 3rd and 12 play. Inigo Montoya would be proud. 8:59 — Rashard Mendenhall bursts for "the longest run of his career," which is probably also the longest rush of Curtis Enis's career. 8:57 — Two personal fouls and a false start all offset each other. No, I actually don't think they do. 8:54 — A three-and-out for Baltimore parlayed into a three-and-not-out-but-instead-a-first-down for PIttsburgh. Must've been those crafty yellow helmets. "Hey, that's not LSU!" 8:50 — Pardon my MNF virginity this year, but if they just scroll the names of the starters at the bottom of the screen, how are we supposed to know what high school some of these linebackers went to? 8:49 — And now we resume action. Wait, false alarm. Let's try one where Joe Flacco doesn't fumble the center exchange. 8:48 — Frazier has finally been placed on the stretcher, and the stretcher is on the cart. So, two-hand touch from here on out? Ben Roethlisberger might love that. 8:44 — Steelers special teamer Andre Frazier appears to be the injured fellow. They're stretchering him off. At this rate, only Jonathan E will be left standing by halftime. 8:42 — And ... with no time off the clock, someone already died on the field. Way to wish for injury in your pregame slam poetry, Tony. 8:40 — Son of Hank Williams I ditties a new ditty. Y'know, we like to bitch a lot, but just think how fortunate that it's a washed up country singer modifying lyrics week-to-week and not, oh, these guys. (Good thing ESPN never booked them!) 8:36 — I have a soft spot for anyone who can reference the Visigoths on-air. That's why Tony Kornheiser is inexplicably and unconditionally on my good side. Although Korny just dropped some Eagles lyrics, much to the chagrin of Jeff Lebowski. If you didn't know the name of that song*, mark the "obscure rock song" square down. * - ʇɥƃıuo⊥ ǝɥɔɐʇɹɐǝH 8:34 — Ray Lewis's INTENSE pep talk: "Whenever someone touch the ball, someone's getting knocked out." You heard me, Ed Reed. No interceptions for you. 8:31 — Okay, ESPN's "Axis" replay mode is just showing off. Yes, it's way better than CBS's "Eye Vision," but they kept going up and back and forth in their camera angle for no other reason beyond that they could. Although if you looked carefully, in the corner of the screen it said "Reticulating Splines..." 8:29 — Predictions? Four Leaderers pick Pittsburgh, and four pick Baltimore. This makes Kevin Costner the tie-breaking vote. 8:27 — Still pregame. ESPN is showing highlights ... of their own coverage of NFL analysts discussing a game yet to be played. (I guess they hate repeating themselves.) They even found a grammatically correct Emmitt Smith sentence to re-roll.

Pre-Game Babble So Baltimore is one of life's undefeated teams. And all they did was beat up on Cincinnati and Cleveland. Somehow that seems shallow only because they had a game two weeks ago against Houston postponed. But hey, they didn't write the schedule. Seedy, tweedy Ravens fans came up with it. Every once in a while I check out the Interpipes to scout out the live blog competition is out there. Tonight, I will be vying for your precious refreshes against Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports editor Jerry Micco. So far he already has a head start on me, keeping us abreast of when he's driving to the game. Heck, that's not such a bad idea. In fact, I might steal that idea. Or maybe I'll live blog while driving. Michigan hasn't explicitly written a law forbidding it. It sounds like the Steelers will be playing with throwback jerseys. Quoth the Micco, "We'll see if it's enough to throw off the Ravens." After all, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs have been watching game film of the Steelers wearing the modern jerseys. They'll undoubtedly freeze up and piss their pants when they see different clothes. Conversely, the Ravens might lure Pittsburgh into complacency if they adorn their own throwbacks:

That was probably meaner than it needed to be. Oh well. As penance, play with this: