By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are a day closer to playing for the third time this season, as the two meet in an AFC divisional playoff game Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Heinz Field, and no Steelers player appeared to be more excited for this game than Isaac Redman.
While there are many who believe Redman should have gotten more playing time for the Steelers this season after spending 2009 on the practice squad, probably none would have chosen the first-year running back when asked who would score the winning touchdown the last time the Steelers and Ravens met.
After safety Troy Polamalu sacked quarterback Joe Flacco and forced a fumble that outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley recovered, the Steelers were in scoring range. And on third-and-goal from the 9, Redman caught a short pass from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and bowled over Baltimore safety Dawan Landry en route to the end zone.
“That was a great finish for me,” Redman said Thursday after practice. I was so proud to help this team beat the Ravens. That was a very important game for us, and I was just fortunate to be part of a big win.
“Now, I’m just looking forward to contributing to this team as much as I can, and since it’s my first playoff game I’m very pumped to get out there. It’s going to be very intense, so I’m going to go out there and play my hardest.”
During that second Ravens game, Redman appeared to evolve from short-yardage specialist to a more complete back. But he’ll still have his special role.
“As far as third down and blitz pickup and things like that, things really picked up for me as the year went along,” Redman said. “I wasn’t getting too many reps at the start, but my playing time and production increased as we went along. And I think things are going pretty well for me going into the playoffs.
“I guess it actually started with the Ravens in that first game. I did a very good job in that game, and they gave me even more reps in the second game. They especially wanted me in on blitz pickup on Ray Lewis and some other guys, so I hope to get at least as many reps and maybe make another big play as well.”
Redman still hasn’t been told how he and veteran Mewelde Moore will split third-down reps or what Redman’s role will be in short-yardage and on the goal line.
“We still have to wait and see,” Redman said. “It was defined going into that second Ravens game. On a certain down and distance, they wanted me in there. And for a different down and distance, it was Mewelde. But it mattered where we were on the field as well, so we’ll to see about this week.
“I think we’ll probably go with the same approach as we did in the last game against the Ravens. It all depends on down and distance and if we think the Ravens will be coming (blitzing). And we could start out with a plan, but alter it as the game goes along. It all depends, but I’ll be ready no matter what.”
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