Steelers Complete Another Comeback to Clinch AFC North

What an unbelievable game!

All of the pre-game rituals and speeches reminded everyone that Pittsburgh was playing this game for Ryan Shazier, who still remains in the hospital recovering from spinal surgery. With that being said it didn’t take the Steelers long to make their presence known on defense. Javon Hargrave forced a fumble on Ravens running back Alex Collins, but Baltimore did recover. However, just a couple plays later Sean Davis picked off an errant pass from Joe Flacco to set the tone early for Pittsburgh. As Ben Roethlisberger and the offense took over, it was Jesse James who came up big time on a couple passes to set up a 20-yard touchdown reception to Le’Veon Bell. This play showed that there is very little that Le’Veon can’t do (if anything), as he caught the touchdown on a slant route while lined up as a receiver on the far left. Pittsburgh capitalized on Flacco’s mistake, and would look to stay hot on Baltimore’s next possession and that they did. The Ravens could not get anything going and Coty Sensabaugh would end the drive for Baltimore as he broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. The first quarter would end with Pittsburgh ahead by 7.

The Steelers offense looked to continue their effective play, as Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 28 yards to set up Le’Veon Bell for his second touchdown of the evening, this time with a 1-yard run. After Bell’s second score, the Ravens looked for some redemption. Baltimore got their own run game going on this drive and it would lead to Flacco finding wide receiver Chris Moore for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Steelers now only up one score again, 14 to 7.

Unfortunately, there was great cause for concern on Pittsburgh’s next drive as Bell was forced to exit the game after taking a hit to the knee. As a result, Ben looked to rely on the passing game in Bell’s absence, finding Antonio Brown for another big play on a 43-yard completion. The offense looked to lean on Chris Boswell (last week’s AFC Special Teams Player of the Week) to hit from 52 yards to give Pittsburgh a 10-point lead over Baltimore, 17 to 7.

It would not take the Ravens long to answer back. The stellar ground game of Alex Collins would continue to get the better of Pittsburgh’s defense and Collins would later score on the drive as he ran in for an 18-yard touchdown, putting Baltimore back within 3. After some defensive struggles, Pittsburgh looked to extend their lead again. Roethlisberger stayed sharp, connecting with Eli Rogers and Vance McDonald before the offense was forced to rely on Boswell again. The Wizard of Boz continued to make things look easy as he hit from 43 yards to give the Steelers a 20 to 14 lead at halftime.

Pittsburgh started the second half with the ball, but a lack of production on offense would hurt them early on. Baltimore’s offense looked to overcome the deficit, and Flacco looked to former Steeler, Mike Wallace, to make a big play. Wallace found himself on the receiving end of a long pass that he would take downfield for a 40-yard gain. To finish the drive, Justin Tucker showed off his leg, knocking in a 47-yard field goal to decrease Pittsburgh’s lead to 3 once again, 20 to 17.

Pittsburgh’s woes continued on both sides of the ball in the third, and the Ravens looked to take advantage as Alex Collins and Javorius Allen continued to carve the defense up on the ground. Vinny Williams showed great hustle on this drive running down the dynamic running duo at times. Ultimately, it was Allen who would find himself breaking the plane for a Ravens touchdown, giving Baltimore a 24 to 20 lead.

The third quarter continued to be underwhelming for Pittsburgh’s offense, not being able to put anything together on any of their three drives, and Baltimore would come up big in this quarter on both sides of the ball. The Ravens would take advantage on a couple of penalties to give Joe Flacco an opportunity to increase their lead, this time he would find Patrick Ricard for a 6-yard touchdown grab to give Baltimore an 11-point lead over the Steelers.

Pittsburgh would enter the final quarter looking to get something going offensively, as well as put a stop to Baltimore’s effective run game. Roethlisberger and Jesse James looked very impressive early in the quarter, but it was a Boswell 24- yard field goal that would put Pittsburgh back on the board, making the score 23 to 31. The Steelers would also make a great defensive stand on Baltimore’s next possession, forcing them into a three-and-out. As things began to move in the right direction for Pittsburgh, the offense looked to tie the game. Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown for a 57-yard completion to put the Steelers in great scoring position. Ben looked to reward Roosevelt Nix for his great blocking throughout the game, and did so as Nix pulled in an incredible pass for his 1st career touchdown catch. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh could not convert the two-point conversion as Le’Veon Bell fell just short of the goal line. Pittsburgh now only trailing 31 to 29.

Pittsburgh looked to remain solid on defense, however some very questionable and costly penalties did not exactly help their chances of getting their lead back. Artie Burns was called for a supposed pass interference, while spectators (mostly Steeler fans) could only watch and empathize with his frustration, bad call refs! In addition to the penalties, it was the ground game yet again for Baltimore that would result in another Javorius Allen touchdown, giving the Ravens a 38 to 29 lead.

Luckily for Pittsburgh, this is where things started to turn around in a big way as Roethlisberger found AB on big plays in crunch time. The Steelers would ring the bell once again (literally), as Le’Veon would take in his third touchdown of the evening with the help of Chris Hubbard‘s excellent blocking on the play. Pittsburgh now down 36 to 38, began to look impressive all around as they made a huge stop on defense that would give the offense another chance to take the lead. Jesse James continued to look very much like the great Heath Miller in this matchup as he made big plays all night. No surprise what came next with the game on the line, as Big Ben looked for his main man AB again. Brown came up with another huge reception to give Boswell a chance at giving Pittsburgh the lead. Boswell continued his unbelievable streak and successfully hit from 46 yards out to give the Steelers a 39 to 38 lead. This man has been absolutely lights out, and this was the third game in a row where Pittsburgh would rely on a last minute field goal from the clutch kicker.

Baltimore had one more chance on offense to spoil the Steelers great comeback, but T.J. Watt came through with his big play ability once again, recording a sack on Joe Flacco on the last play of the game as time expired.

This one was most definitely for you, #50!

Baltimore’s defense had not allowed a 300-yard passing game to an opposing quarterback all season until tonight, as Roethlisberger completed 44 of 66 passes for 506 yards and 2 touchdowns. Big Ben now has the most 500+ passing yard games in NFL history with 3 and tonight he set another personal record as he attempted 66 passes, the most in a single game for him. Le’Veon Bell continued to build upon his impressive season with 48 rushing yards on 13 attempts and two touchdowns, while adding 9 receptions for 97 yards and a receiving touchdown. Of course, who else would lead the team in receiving but Antonio Brown, as he pulled in 11 receptions for 213 yards. Another member of the Killer B’s had himself a night, as Chris Boswell stayed locked-in hitting all 4 on his field goal attempts and hitting all 3 extra points. I think he has our vote to once again be awarded AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Sean Davis (12) and Vinny Williams (7) lead the team in tackles, Davis added that early interception to his stat-line, and T.J. Watt finished the night with 4 tackles and the Steelers lone sack on the evening.

This was an absolutely huge come-from-behind victory for the Steelers as they stay hot and make it 8 wins in a row. Pittsburgh takes on New England at home next Sunday in what is considered their most important matchup of the season as it will most likely be the deciding factor for home-field advantage in the post season.

Oh and as for Juju Smith-Schuster, he won’t need to wear his equipment on the couch next week…

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