Sep 23, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh high fives guard Marshal Yanda (73) after a touchdown during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens-Steelers is “what a division rivalry game is all about”

A future Hall of Famer is prepping for another game against Pittsburgh.

September 28, 2018 - 10:59 am
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Related: Marshal Yanda: Ravens-Steelers is “what a division rivalry game is all about”

By: Kyle J. Andrews

OWINGS MILLS -- Ravens offensive guard Marshal Yanda has been with the team since being drafted in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Since that time, Yanda has started in 138 games and been named to six Pro Bowls. It gives him a bit of perspective as to what is important

The hype has surrounded Baltimore’s offense constantly, even trickling down into local media. However, Yanda believes that reporters and pundits shouldn’t get to ahead of themselves.

“I mean, it’s Week 3,” said Yanda. “We’re trying not to get too crazy on the predictions and all that stuff. We’re just taking care of the day, taking care of practice. Obviously, we’re doing some good things, and I agree with you. But we’re keeping our heads down right now. We’re going to keep grinding away.”

Before getting into the Ravens’ matchup against the Steelers, they have started the season at a torrid pace in the redzone. The offense has scored touchdowns in 12-of-12 opportunities  within the 20-yard line. They are the first team to score a touchdown on each of its first 12 red zone trips, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

“I don’t know. It’s just making plays, obviously, in the passing game, and we’re running the football well in the red zone. I think it’s a combination of both, doing both well – not just being one-dimensional in the run or the pass. That’s execution; that’s all 11 guys doing their job at a high level.”

Baltimore hasn’t won a division title since 2012, when they were also crowned Super Bowl Champions. They have to cut through the fat of the division before getting to the sirloin beef that is the AFC North Division title — that fat is Pittsburgh in their eyes.

“It’s a physical, division game – what a division rivalry game is all about,” said Yanda of playing against their most heated rivals. “Our goal is to start out with winning the division, and you have to be physical. That’s part of it.”

Yanda has played in 19 total games against Pittsburgh. He has been highly successful — holding an 11-8 record against the Steelers in his career. The 11-year pro has been able to hand down wisdom to rookies who have never played in this series.

“I try not to make it too big for them,” Yanda said of the rookies. “It is an NFL football game, and every single one of these games is important. But obviously, you’d like to say this game is going to be more physical, but I try not to make it too big for the rookies.

“It’s just another game for us. Obviously, it’s a big game, but your preparation and your approach does not change week to week. You continue to prepare. Every game is important in this league, so we approach it like every single one is important. We keep preparing.”

Yanda knows that being a Raven is more than just playing a few games with the team. It is a mindset that a player must acquire and usually, that grit is earned through playing against the Steelers.

“We play them twice a year, Yanda said of Pittsburgh. “They’re in our division; they’re very important. We’ll be fired up when we go up there and play them.”

Their game will take place on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.  It is Baltimore’s second primetime game of the season.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleAndrews1994