A lot had to happen on Sunday for the Pittsburgh Steelers to make the 2022 NFL playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the AFC. As noted by Brooke Pryor of ESPN, Pittsburgh had a mere 8% chance of making the postseason tournament, as the Steelers not only needed to beat the Ravens in Baltimore, the Jaguars (2-14) had to upset the Colts and the Chargers-Raiders nightcap could not end in a tie.
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That said, one could be forgiven for referencing Jim Mora’s infamous “Playoffs?!?” rant from 2001.
But the Steelers took care of business, with a nerve-wracking 16-13 overtime win over the Ravens that eliminated Baltimore from playoff contention. The victory—combined with Jacksonville’s 26-11 win over Indianapolis—inspired Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin to bust out a dance move on Instagram. That unlikely trifecta prompted Ken Rice, news anchor at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, to invoke the words of Marsha Brady:
Meanwhile, Jaguars fans thoroughly enjoyed the game-long meltdown experienced by Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, and clearly didn’t mind giving an assist to the Steelers in the process.
The Steelers went on to formally give thanks to the Jaguars for doing their part in contributing to Pittsburgh’s unlikely push toward the playoffs.
After starting the season 1-3, the Steelers finished with an 8-4-1 streak, one that repeatedly prompted Steelers fans to ask the following rhetorical question:
In essence, the team had the following answer:
Raiders: It’s Not ‘Just Tie Baby’
Yet the Steelers still needed one team or the other to win outright when the Chargers took on the Raiders on Sunday Night Football. For a while, it looked like a tie was going to happen, as the two sides went to overtime deadlocked at 29-29.
“The memes are lit tonight,” observed one random Twitter user, perhaps stating the obvious.
It wasn’t until Raiders placekicker Daniel Carson hit a 47-yard field goal as time expired that Las Vegas emerged with a 35-32 victory, prompting the following tweet from the Raiders’ official Twitter account—a reference to the longtime Raiders motto, “Just win, baby!”
Raiders fans won’t be accepting any thanks from Steelers fans, of course.
But after a stressful game and a long day of scoreboard watching, Steelers fans could be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief.
After all, this meme best illustrates Pittsburgh’s run to the playoffs.
Unless it’s this one, posted on Reddit.
Never mind that countless NFL fans were rooting for a tie, just so they could watch the NFL world burn.
Looking Ahead: A Rematch With the Kansas City Chiefs
The bottom line, though, is that “the Steelers aren’t done yet!!!”
On the other hand, they drag a -55 point differential into the playoffs and will have to try to dispel the notion that they are one of the worst teams ever to make the postseason.
Most NFL fans are of the mind that the Steelers are going to get thrashed by the No. 2 seeded Kansas Chiefs, who beat the Steelers 36-10 on December 26, 2021, in a game that wasn’t as close as the 26-point margin of victory might seem to indicate. Hence the following tweet:
That’s why many Steelers fans are trying to prepare themselves emotionally for what might transpire on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. Michael Scott of The Office perhaps best illustrates this sentiment.
Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. ET on Sunday January 16 on NBC.
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