The Steelers and Ravens, one of the best rivalries in the NFL, provided quite an entertaining contest on Sunday night, with points galore and late rally by Pittsburgh. With the 39-38 win, the Steelers clinched the AFC North and become the first team in the AFC to punch its ticket to the playoffs.
The Steelers honored Ryan Shazier, who underwent spinal stabilization surgery earlier in the week, before the game.
Here are the relevant highlights from ‘Sunday Night Football.’.
Steelers 39, Ravens 38: The clock ran out on the Ravens’ comeback attempt when Joe Flacco fumbled out of bounds with just eight seconds remaining.
Steelers 39, Ravens 38: Pittsburgh scored 10 unanswered points, re-taking the lead with a 46-yard field goal by Chris Boswell with 46 seconds remaining. The key play on the drive was this 30-yard pass to Antonio Brown with 1:08 remaining.
That gave Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger 506 passing yards on the night, his third career game with 500 or more yards. He also set career highs in completions (44) and attempts (66).
Ravens 38, Steelers 36: The Steelers took their sweet time getting down the field, but it ended in their second touchdown this quarter, courtesy of Le’Veon Bell again:
Ravens 38, Steelers 29: Another head-scratching PI call got the Ravens into the red zone:
Then (who else) Alex Collins got them to the goal line, and then (who else) Buck Allen finished off the touchdown drive.
Ravens 31, Steelers 29: Antonio Brown got the Steelers into the red zone with this very Antonio Brown play:
Roosevelt Nix — another fullback touchdown! — made a beauty of a bodyslam catch.
The Steelers went for two and didn’t get it, but another PI call gave them another chance. The Baltimore D stood Le’Veon Bell up like a jerk on prom night and the Ravens keep the lead.
Ravens 31, Steelers 23: The Steelers’ no good, very bad third quarter is over. Now it’s time to score again, which they did with a field goal.
On the line (besides a chance to clinch the division) is this unreal streak:
Just announced on Westwood One: Steelers are 215-0-2 at home when leading by 14 at any point of the game.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 11, 2017
Third quarter: Ravens 31, Steelers 20
Ravens 31, Steelers 20: Two big penalties on the Steelers, including an iffy PI call on Artie Burns, got the Ravens into the red zone:
And hey there, it’s a fullback touchdown! Patrick Ricard caught a short pass from Joe Flacco for his second touchdown of the year.
Ravens 24, Steelers 20: This has been a third quarter to forget for Pittsburgh:
Since scoring on their first 4 possessions, #Steelers have run 11 plays, gained 21 yards, and punt 3 times.— Lorenzo Reyes (@LorenzoGReyes) December 11, 2017
Ravens 24, Steelers 20: Joe Flacco has found a rhythm and Alex Collins is still at it, getting the Ravens to the 1-yard line with a 17-yard run. Buck Allen punched it in to give Baltimore its first lead of the game.
Steelers 20, Ravens 17: A wide-open Mike Wallace got the Ravens into scoring position, though to be fair, Justin Tucker’s range is, like, 75 percent of the field.
So yeah, surprise, Tucker’s 47-yarder was perfect. This pun, however? Less so:
Steelers 20, Ravens 14: The Weasley twins are at the game:
And for the first time all game, the Steelers punted. Coincidence, or a prank courtesy of the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes?
Second quarter: Steelers 20, Ravens 14
Steelers 20, Ravens 14: Good news: Le’Veon Bell returned on this drive. The Steelers were able to move the ball — the biggest play came on third-and-15 with 33 seconds left, when Ben Roethlisberger found Eli Rogers for a first down.
But they couldn’t get into the end zone before the clock was about to run out, so they settled for a field goal.
Steelers 17, Ravens 14: Oops, the Steelers forgot to tackle Alex Collins, so a 5-ish-yard gain turned into a 30-yard gain.
And double oops, it happened again, this time for a touchdown:
Steelers 17, Ravens 7: Oh no, Le’Veon Bell took a nasty hit and was being looked at on the sidelines.
He didn’t return on that drive, but Chris Boswell’s 52-yard field goal put the Steelers back up by double digits.
Steelers 14, Ravens 7: The Ravens are on the board now with a nine-play drive that ended with Joe Flacco hitting Chris Moore with a 30-yard touchdown.
Moore celebrated with, what we can only assume, is an homage to GLOW:
Steelers 14, Ravens 0: Once again, it’s Le’Veon Bell who finds the end zone — this time a rushing TD. It’s old hat for Bell by now:
Le’Veon Bell now has 4 career games with a rushing TD & receiving TD, tied for most by any player since entering the league in 2013 #BALvsPIT— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 11, 2017
The Steelers were aided, in part, by a questionable pass interference call on the play before:
That's clean. That is a clean attack on the ball.— Baltimore Beatdown (@BMoreBeatdown) December 11, 2017
JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is serving a one-game suspension for his hit against Vontaze Burfict last week, is in the zone as he’s watching from home:
First quarter: Steelers 7, Ravens 0
Steelers 7, Ravens 0: The interception paid off for the Steelers, who went 59 yards on a touchdown drive. Ben Roethlisberger connected with Le’Veon Bell, who took it 20 yards for the first points of the game.
Steelers 0, Ravens 0: On the opening kickoff, Roosevelt Nix paid tribute to Ryan Shazier after making the tackle:
Baltimore moved the ball well, but the drive ended when Joe Flacco threw a pick to Sean Davis.
The Steelers showed their support for Ryan Shazier on Sunday night
Before the game
This week’s Sunday Night Football matchup is an AFC North grudge match, with the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh will look to finish a season sweep of Baltimore and can clinch the division title with a win. The game kicks at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC (live streams at NBC Sports and FuboTV).
Pittsburgh improved to 10-2 after an ugly, violent game against the Cincinnati Bengals last week, which turned into a war of attrition by the end. The Steelers’ biggest loss was star linebacker Ryan Shazier, who is out with a spinal injury that required surgery. They’ll also be without JuJu Smith-Schuster, who got suspended one game for a cheap shot on Vontaze Burfict.
Yet despite those setbacks, the Steelers still have a potent offense and strong defense, with Antonio Brown continuing to light up the scoreboard. He entered Week 14 leading the league in receptions (88), yards (1,296), and touchdowns (nine). The Ravens will be hard-pressed to slow him down, especially after losing top cornerback Jimmy Smith to a torn Achilles.
Baltimore is 7-5 and in the driver’s seat for a wild card spot, despite a poor offense and legitimately bad play from Joe Flacco. When these teams last met in Week 4, the Steelers handled them pretty easily in a 26-9 win, with Le’Veon Bell scoring two touchdowns and racking up 144 yards on the ground.
The Ravens still haven’t beaten a team with a winning record this season, dropping games to the Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and Tennessee Titans. But their schedule gets pretty friendly after this week, with games against the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, and Bengals to close out the regular season. So even if the Ravens get swept by the Steelers and lose the AFC North race, they’re still well-positioned to earn a playoff spot — for better or worse.
- Geoff Schwartz pinpoints the Ravens as a team that could be dangerous in the playoffs.
The Ravens compare more closely to the 2015 Broncos. Excellent defense — still not as good as those Broncos — and an offense that just gets it done. That worries me. If you look back many years, there hasn’t been a Super Bowl offense with such a poor offensive yards per play (just 4.5 yards for the Ravens). Even the 2015 Broncos were middle of the road in offensive yards per play.
If the Ravens can’t move the ball at New England, Tom Brady will find a way to score. Same goes against the Steelers, who the Ravens lost to in Week 4. Their rematch this weekend will tell me plenty about their prospects for a deep playoff run.
- Behind The Steel Curtain reflects on the positive notes of last week’s chaotic Steelers win.
After Smith-Schuster de-cleated Burfict, he stood over No. 55 long enough to draw a penalty. If there was one player on the Steelers’ offense who wouldn’t be rushing over to get Smith-Schuster off of Burfict, you would think it would be David DeCastro. DeCastro has been open about his disdain for Burfict, and the two have had their share of run-ins throughout their time meeting up on the gridiron. However, it was DeCastro who was trying to get Smith-Schuster away from Burfict, likely to avoid a penalty for the Steelers trying to win a game. DeCastro is one of those leaders who might not say much, but leads by example.
- Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak is a name to watch for coaching vacancies this year.
Munchak has everything an owner would want in a head coach. He was a Hall of Fame player, has head coaching experience, is loyal to a franchise and has done a tremendous job turning the Steelers’ offensive line into one of the best units in all of football.
Someone tell me why Munchak shouldn’t be getting some interviews? The only reason I can fathom for him not being considered for some of these potential openings would be if he simply doesn’t want to be a head coach anymore.
- The last time the Ravens got swept by the Steelers was in 2008.
So here we are, with the Ravens hoping to avoid a season sweep in Pittsburgh on Sunday night football. Both sides are basically locked in to the playoffs, with Pittsburgh expected to win the division and Baltimore almost assured of a wild card spot. Nevertheless, the result will impact postseason seeding at a minimum.
Can the Ravens keep pace with the Steelers explosive offense? Probably not, they will likely have to rely on their opportunistic defense and superior special teams to make impact plays. No matter the outcome, the game will produce some memorable moments. Buckle up for another installment of the greatest rivalry in professional football.