OWINGS MILLS, Md. — It doesn’t matter who is in the game, when it’s Ravens vs. Steelers it’s just a little bit extra.
“We hate each other,” said veteran Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee. “I know for sure we hate them. It’s like God vs. the devil.”
Things once again get biblical on Sunday when the Ravens-Steelers rivalry continues in Pittsburgh.
It’s a new era in the divisional matchup. No Ben Roethlisberger (elbow injury). No Terrell Suggs (now playing for the Arizona Cardinals). But still plenty of bad blood.
“No matter who is playing for these colors this rivalry is going to be one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports,” said Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley.
“One of the things that was said in the meeting today was ‘you’re not a Raven until you beat the Steelers’,” said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. “We’ve got some guys who still need to beat the Steelers.”
“Last year we did. [Joe] Flacco was the quarterback but, part of the team, so definitely we did it last year. So I’ll say I beat the Steelers already,” said quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson will make his first start against the Steelers (1-3) on Sunday. He knows what to expect.
“Physical game. Everyone after each other. Throwing their little flags and stuff, their little towels around,” he said.
With Roethlisberger out for the year with an elbow injury, Jackson’s counterpart this weekend is Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. He’ll be slinging footballs against a Ravens defense ranked 27th in the NFL and 30th against the pass. That is very un-Ravens like.
“It’s very disappointing. Just standing here right now I can’t get that taste out of my mouth. It’s like a throw up taste that you ain’t brushed your teeth or gargle out the throw up and it’s stuck in my mouth,” said McPhee. “So, I’m trying to get my taste out and I don’t think there’d be a better week than going into Pittsburgh and beating them.”
Already this week the Ravens (2-2) have been shuffling around linebackers. In are L.J. Fort and Josh Bynes. Bynes previously spent time with the Ravens and was part of the 2012 Super Bowl championship team. Gone is Tim Williams. The 2017 third-round pick was released.
When asked about the roster shakeup cornerback Marlon Humphrey said it ‘opens everybody’s eyes’ and sends the message that ‘you better get it done or fix something or else you could be with a new team’.