Yancey Thigpens in a Blanket

Holy Cowher, that was a nail-biter, as the Steelers-Ravens match-ups typically are. Let's get to the Game Bites!!

Game Bites
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

The first meeting of these bitter division rivals came earlier this season than last, and on the Steelers' home field. It was marked with penalties and gaffs by veteran players and a breakout performance by a rookie running back. The Steelers maintained the lead for the majority of the game, but just as the announcers would refrain all game, this one came down to a field goal.

First Quarter: Steelers start with ball. Le'Veon Bell runs for a gain of eight, but the drive goes nowhere. That's alright, there's more where that came from...

Announcers: Flacco enjoys playing in Pittsburgh against "rabid Steeler fans." - and they enjoy chewing him up and spitting him out. 

Antonio Brown, 19 yard punt return. Bell gets a 10 yard run. A few plays later, Bell picks up first down and then some with a six yard gain.

Cotchery with a 19 yard catch in the red zone! Cotchery on the next play with a nine yard catch, first and goal. Then...


Shamarko Thomas with a hard hit on the Ravens' next drive. They fight through to convert on 3 and 4 twice.

William Gay stops on 3 and 1 for a loss of one. Ravens' 46 yd FG attempt is good, 7-3, PIT

Second Quarter: Le'Veon Bell with another nine yard gain... then eight yards on 3 and 1... then five yards... 

Moye with a catch to move the Steelers into the red zone, then Ben gets his first sack of the game to bring up 3 and 10. Suisham is unstoppable - FG is good, 10-3, PIT

Ravens nearly fumble the punt return, but recover at their own 13. 

Flacco sacked by Woodley bringing up 4 and 18 and pushing them out of FG range.

Bell face mask penalty, an actual rookie mistake costs the offense 15 yards - then, Heath Miller is stripped of the ball for a turnover inside the PIT 40 yd line. Not good. 

Ravens capitalize on the turnover with another FG.

Score at the Half, 10-6, PIT

Third Quarter: Ravens use their first timeout with 13:52 left in the quarter, and THEN get a delay of game! "Elite."

Flacco, in trouble, runs for a 12 yard gain, which is compounded by a holding call on Ike Taylor. 

Worilds and Timmons both contribute to a Flacco sack, but Polamalu is offsides, resulting in a first down for Baltimore. Polamalu makes up for it with a hit for a loss of two, bringing up 3 and 12. William Gay knocks pass away at the goal line, forcing the Ravens to punt after a hard-fought drive. 

Steelers' ball, Paulson catches a 16-yard low-throw from Big Ben. 

Bells runs for seven yards, then two more. On 3 and 1, Roethlisberger runs for a 19 yard gain! Big run for Big Ben!

Steelers continue to drive toward the end zone as "Flacco [is] watching helplessly from the sidelines." Yes, he can't help that he sucks. Steelers ultimately settle for a FG, 13-6, PIT.

After the commercial break, it's OBVIOUS that they just played Styx' Renegade by how crazy loud the fans are at Heinz. 

Ravens are driving hard on their next drive and run for a first down just before the end of the fourth. Or do they?...

Fourth Quarter: Tomlin challenges the spot of the ball and wins, forcing the officials to put 14 seconds back on the clock, the chain gang to switch back to the other end of the field, and the Ravens to resume at 3 and 1. Ballsy move pays off, Coach.

Okay, NOW it's officially the fourth quarter. Timmons stops on 3 and 1, but the Ravens go for it and come up with the first down. Thumbs down.

Woodley chases Flacco around in the backfield and Gay makes sure the late pass is incomplete, holding the Ravens to another field goal. 13-9, PIT

Ravens attempt onside kick, but totally blow it. Steelers recover.

Ben picks up a seven yard run, followed by a run for six by Felix Jones. Moye drops a nice pass in the end zone. Disappointing. Suisham, still unstoppable on the FG attempt. 16-9, PIT

Ravens continue to convert on third downs and are dangerously close at the 13 yard line. Dallas Clark ultimately comes up with the TD catch to finally tie the game with 1:58 left. 16-16, TIED!

On the punt return, Sanders runs the length of the field (and I scream in the Creative Director's face)!!! Sadly, I, and everyone else at Heinz, screamed needlessly, because the refs call Sanders out of bounds at the Steelers 37 yard line, relegating the play to a 44 yard return. 

Combined efforts by Cotchery and Brown bring the Steelers into field goal range. The announcers continue to belabor the fact that Suisham has yet to miss this season, making me very, very worried that they are going to jinx him. 

Steelers run the clock down to :03 and Suisham gets the job done. I sigh a very exhausted breath of relief.  

Final Score: 19-16, PIT

Well, 2-4 ain't good, but winning the last two takes the sting away - especially beating the division rival and "defending" Super Bowl champs - though they haven't been defending very well. Josh and Zach made the trip out to the game today and boy am I jealous. The view from their seats:

Tailgate Chef Josh cooked up a Buffalo Bacon Blue Double Cheeseburger. Nicely done. 

Today's Stiller Snacks menu featured homemade pigs in a blanket - or, Yancey Thigpens in a Blanket, if you will. 

Essentially hot dogs with homemade buns. Not too fancy, but surprisingly easy and incredibly yummy. The dough:

The entire recipe takes under an hour, from start to finish, but there is a bit of downtime while you preheat the oven and wait for the dough to rise. I waited on the couch with the cat.

Batman the cat, that is. Batman was not my cat to name, otherwise I probably would have dubbed him "Myron," or "Hines," or "Fuamatu-Ma'afala" ("Foo" for short). I didn't get to name him anything Steelers-related, so I will make him wear a Steelers collar on gameday instead. 

Steelers and Ravens have a rivalry as bitter as cats (above) and dogs (below). Haw haw.

Yancey Thigpens in a Blanket
Recipe adapted from An Oregon Cottage

1 cup warm water
1 tbsp honey
3/4 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp sea salt
2 cups bread flour
8 all-beef hot dogs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine water, honey and yeast in a large bowl. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Add salt, oil and flour and stir together until dough forms (if too wet, continue to dust with flour). Knead gently and form into a ball. Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes, knead gently, then rest for another 10 minutes. 

Dust the dough lightly with flour, then knead and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 8 rectangles a bit shorter than the length of a hot dog. Wrap each hot dog in dough rectangle and pinch dough together. Place hot dogs on a parchment-lined baking sheet, seam-side down. Allow to rest for 5-10 mintues so that the dough will rise a little more before baking.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until dough begins to turn golden-brown. Remove, allow to cool, and serve with your favorite condiments. (See my recipe for Sweet Ike Taylor Tots with Curry Kethchup!)

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