The rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens has changed over the years. Whether it was Jerome Bettis and Joey Porter going at it with Ray Lewis and Jamal Lewis or Ben Roethlisberger shaking off Terrell Suggs, despite the many different faces the rivalry still has had the same hatred.
This year, it will be a bit different because Roethlisberger is no longer part of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The former Steelers quarterback has missed Steelers vs Ravens matchups in the past due to injury but has always been present on the sidelines for those games at least. Not this year though, and when speaking to the media today via Steelers.com, Cameron Heyward was asked if the rivalry still feels the same as it did when Lewis, Roethlisberger, and Suggs were playing.
“It always does” Heyward replied. “You know, when you play Baltimore there’s usually something at stake. Both teams are vying for [the] playoffs and it’s a gritty game that usually comes down to a one game score.”
Heyward was part of a Steelers team in 2019 that was starting Mason Rudolph in Pittsburgh and took the eventual one seed Ravens to overtime before losing thanks to a Justin Tucker game winning field goal.
No matter who is out there playing at quarterback the teams usually play it very tight. In their last ten matchups with each other seven of those games came down to one score, with four of those seven being decided by three points or less.
Despite the changing of faces in the locker rooms of both of these franchises the disdain remains. The Steelers and the Ravens are the only two teams in the AFC North to have won a Super Bowl and remain the standard that both the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns look up to.
This Sunday, Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett gets his indoctrination to the rivalry and how he performs in December against a tough, hard-nosed Ravens team will be one of the biggest storylines of the game.
However, as Heyward pointed out, both teams are in the playoff hunt, and a loss on Sunday for the Steelers will likely put the final nail in their coffin. On the other side, if the Ravens lose it will make it even harder for them to win the division as the Bengals are currently white hot and don’t seem like losing any time soon.
With a lot on the line for both teams Sunday, expect a close, hard hitting game. Despite the changes of players, Ravens vs Steelers is always two things: close and physical. Heyward is not expecting that to change and neither should anyone else.