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Shazier learning about life in the NFL

Ryan Shazier's crash-course introduction into an NFL regular season has been equal parts education and confirmation.

Last Thursday night's visit to M&T Bank Stadium for a traditionally nasty confrontation with Baltimore, a contest staged just five days after the regular season opener at Heinz Field against Cleveland, made quite an impression on the Steelers No. 1 pick.

Just as the Browns game had.

"Everybody was telling me about the intensity of this game but you can't really prepare for that, you can't really think about it," Shazier said after the Ravens' 26-6 victory over the Steelers. "It was really intense (against Baltimore)."

Shazier wasn't unfamiliar with such scenarios, having participated for Ohio State against Michigan. He found out in his first Ravens-Steelers game that Ohio State-Michigan is similar in theory but not in practice.

"Yeah, it was even different than that," Shazier acknowledged. "And it's hard for me to say that because I'm Ohio State until I die. But that was probably one of the more physical games I've ever played in my life.

"I definitely felt the physicality and the intensity of the rivalry. This is probably one of the more intense games that I've ever played in, and that's what I like. And I can't wait until we get our second chance to play them."

Check out the highlight photos from the Ravens vs Steelers game.

Although the Steelers managed only a split over the first two weeks of a schedule that opened with back-to-back division games, Shazier emerged believing he's been brought up to speed on two of the absolutes associated with playing defense for the Steelers.

"(The Cleveland game) was a lot faster than I thought," he said. "I thought I was a fast guy, I'm going to be used to the speed no matter what. But the game was a lot faster. Last (game) the speed, this (game) the intensity, I have both of those under my belt.

"It's going to really help me for the rest of the games we have this season."

Shazier was credited with 11 tackles (six solo) in Baltimore after having been in on six stops (five solo) in the opener.

Both games also confirmed for the inside linebacker what he learned at Ohio State, that it's about making plays first and foremost on defense, and that there's a severe price to pay when that doesn't happen often enough.

"Missed tackles and big plays are the reason a lot of teams lose," Shazier said. "In general when you have a lot of those you tend to lose. The more missed tackles you have and the more big plays you give up, the odds of you winning the game are very slim.

"We have to limit those and get turnovers and we can make a difference."

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