Ravens — 3-3-11-10–27
Steelers — 7-0-3-21–31
TV: NFL Network
They’re going to call it “The Reach.”
Antonio Brown extended the ball into the endzone with nine seconds left on the clock, giving the Steelers the lead, the win, and the AFC North on Sunday against the Ravens. The Steelers, who trailed multiple times in the second half, scored touchdowns on their final three drives of the game.
The Ravens looked poised to steal the division for most of the day, as Joe Flacco played a clean game and the defense picked Roethlisberger twice. After Kyle Juszczyk rumbled into the endzone with 1:20 left, the Ravens were ready for a fifth straight win over Pittsburgh.
But when the game was in hand, the Steelers leaned on their best players. Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell were instrumental in the fourth quarter, accounting for all 90 yards on the second of the three TD drives. Roethlisberger was 7-9 on the final drive, with the two incomplete passes coming from spikes to stop the clock.
The Steelers are now division champions, and headed for the third seed in the AFC playoffs. The Ravens are eliminated.
Brown Scores With Nine Seconds Left
The Steelers put together a division-winning drive in the final minute, capped by a great individual effort from Antonio Brown. If he doesn’t extend across the goal line, there’s a chance the Steelers won’t get set for another play. What a play.
Kyle Juszczyk Puts Baltimore Ahead With 1:20 Remaining
The Ravens methodically responded late, getting into the endzone after a 14-play drive. The Ravens took almost six minutes off the clock, but still left Roethlisberger and the Steelers plenty of time to operate.
Steelers Offense Comes Alive Late
Pittsburgh has opened things up in the final quarter, driving for touchdowns on consecutive possessions. This time they go 90 yards in less than three minutes, without the aid of any penalties. All the yardage came from Bell and Brown: AB had two grabs for a combined 47 yards, and Roethlisberger hung in the pocket before dumping to Bell for the TD.
A clear sign things are getting rowdy at Heinz Field:
Steelers Answer Back In Fourth
The Steelers get a much-needed response drive in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, waking up for a five-play, 75 yard march. The bulk of the yardage came on a 35-yard pass interference penalty, and Bell did a great job changing direction on his way into the endzone.
Ravens End Third Quarter With Another Pick
With the Steelers down seven, Roethlisberger throws his second interception of the quarter deep in his own territory. The Steelers are long removed from that game-opening TD drive.
Roethlisberger Throws Pick to Start Second Half
The Steelers tried to stop the Ravens late in the second quarter, knowing that they’d start the second half with possession. Instead it’s the Ravens taking a two-for-one, and now it’s the Ravens that are up seven with all the momentum.
Ravens Mishandle FG Attempt
As close as these games have been in past years, you know this is going to be big. The Ravens drive inside the redzone, but a Timmons sack kills the drive. Tucker comes out to make it 7-6, and now it’s a turnover. Flacco has completed seven of his first ten passes, and the Steelers are fortunate this game isn’t closer right now.
Steelers Strike First
After the Ravens punt on their opening drive, the Steelers go 87 yards in nine plays to open the scoring. Le’Veon Bell had runs of 10, 7, 7, and 10 yards on the drive, setting a strong tone for the offensive line. Roethlisberger was accurate, and Xavier Grimble made the grab in traffic for the first TD.
NFL fans are getting a nice Christmas gift this evening. Cheers to the start of two great matchups.
Stats will be updated throughout the game
Passing: Flacco: 30/44, 262 yards, TD, INT
Rushing: Dixon: 12 carries, 57 yards
Receiving: Smith: 7 catches, 79 yards, TD
Passing: Roethlisberger: 24/33, 279 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Bell: 20 carries, 122 yards, TD
Receiving: Brown: 10 catches, 96 yards, TD
The stakes couldn’t be higher on Sunday, as the Steelers host the Ravens in what has essentially become a playoff game. A Steelers win would lock down the AFC North title, while a Ravens win would give them the tiebreaker, setting them up to steal the division next week.
The Steelers head into the game winners of five straight, but the Ravens have been their foil over the last year. They’ve dropped four straight to Baltimore, including a 13-point loss at Heinz Field in January.
In the first matchup in Baltimore, the Ravens harassed Roethlisberger, who had recently returned from a knee injury. The Ravens also struggled on offense, but got a long touchdown early and held on for a 21-14 victory. The Steelers have only lost once in the six previous games since that encounter.
If the Ravens want the season sweep, they’ll need to limit the production of Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers back fell seven yards short of his fifth straight 100-yard rushing performance last week, but was only held to 32 yards on 14 carries in the first game in Baltimore.