Do the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens have a long and storied history? Storied, yes. Long, no. The rivalry dates back to 1996, and the series includes 57 games, which the Steelers have an 7-game advantage. No matter the record of either team, they both always seem to put on a fantastic show with great storylines attached twice, maybe three times a year.
Here’s a brief tale of the tape:
Points: Steelers 1,159, Ravens 1,121
Wins: Steelers 32, Ravens 25
Record in Pittsburgh: Steelers 19-12, Ravens 12-19
Points in Pittsburgh: Steelers 701, Ravens 592
Record in Baltimore: Steelers 13-13, Ravens 13-13
Points in Baltimore: Steelers 458, Ravens 529
Shutouts: 3 (Ravens lead 2-1) Steelers 37, Ravens 0, (11/9/97), Ravens 16, Steelers 0 (9/3/2000), Ravens 27, Steelers 0 (11/26/06)
Biggest Win Margin: 11/9/1997 - Steelers 37, Steelers 0
Closest Game: Steelers 39, Ravens 38 (12/10/2017), Steelers 20, Ravens 19 (12/5/2021)
Overtime Games: 7 - Steelers 2-5, Ravens 5-2
Postseason Record: Steelers 3, Ravens 1
December 1, 1996 - Ravens 31, Steelers 17
For the first time playing in Baltimore in 13 years when the visiting black and gold defeated the Colts, the Steelers were back in Memorial Stadium to battle the transformed and relocated Browns in a driving rain in early December. The Ravens, sporting their original helmets sans the bird but a “B” on a crest, featured former Steelers Eric Green and Bam Morris clad in purple. Green departed after the 1994 season for a six-year deal with Miami, but was cut by Jimmy Johnson for being overweight and out of shape after only one year with the Dolphins. Morris’ last game for the Steelers was in Super Bowl XXX, the running back was released after Texas police found six pounds of marijuana in his trunk during a traffic stop and sentenced to 200 hours of community service and six years’ probation.
On their second possession, the home team’s Jermaine Lewis fielded a 38-yard punt by Josh Miller and returned it all the way to the Pittsburgh 1-yard line. The ball would come loose though and be recovered by Donta Jones. However, Lewis’ knee was deemed down and the paly overturned. Vinny Testaverde then tossed a pass to rookie Johnathan Ogden on a tackle eligible for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead. When it was Mike Tomczak’s turn to counter, he would ride Jerome Bettis (105 yards rushing) for 24 yards on the drive and finish it off with a 10-yard strike to Andre Hastings and the tie. The Steelers would then take the lead on a 22-yarder by Norm Johnson, after their next possession stalled at the B-more 4. In the second frame, Vinny drove his rat-birds all the way to the enemy 1, but his pass for the capper was picked in the end zone by Darren Perry to thwart the scoring opportunity. The Steelers were able to match B-more on the next drive with a touchdown of their own when Tomczak found Andre Hastings on a 30-yard catch-and-dash to tie it all up at seven a piece. They would put more points on the scoreboard after a Donta Jones sack of the Vin-Man forced a punt, the Steelers got down to the 4, and Norm Johnson’s field goal of 22 went through the uprights in the early part of the second quarter. It looked like the Ravens would score again with the ball at the Pittsburgh 1, but a fourth down pass from Testeverde to Green fell in the wrong hands when Darren Perry swiped it and took it 24 yards before being hit and fumbling. Luckily Orpheus Roye was there to recover.
With 3:25 left in the half, Ted Marchibroda’s team would score... a lot. First, Testeverde hit Derrick Alexander (7 catches for 198 yards and 2 TDs) over Willie Williams for a 24-yard score. After a Josh Miller punt gave the ball back to the purple team, veteran Ernest Byner rumbled 7 yards to the end zone. Then a Mike Croel pick of Tomczak two plays later gave Stover an opportunity for a 40-yarder with :45 seconds left in the half. The Ravens were now leading 24-10 in the cold December rain.
With intermission over, the visitors came back fighting with a touchdown drive that was set up by a 45-yard Erric Pegram kick return and concluded when Tomczak hooked up with Hastings for the second time. The remainder of the quarter was a collection of punts in the driving rain, but a drive that the Ravens took into the fourth quarter resumed the scoring when Green hauled-in a 3-yard pass to stretch the score to 31-17. Bill Cowher’s team would drive down to the 15, but Tomczak’s 4th and 4 pass to Hastings fell incomplete and the Steelers turned the ball over on downs. The Steelers next drive was their final drive, but Baltimore forced a punt and ran out the clock with Morris (100 yards rushing) continuously moving the chains with 45 fourth-quarter yards. The former Browns snapped a seven-game losing streak to Pittsburgh, while the Steelers fell to 9-3. But the seeds of a great rivalry were sewn on a wet day at a vintage Memorial Stadium.
December 16, 2001 - Steelers 26, Ravens 21
It was hard to decipher whether to lead up to the week 14 matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers was on Sunday Night Football or Friday Night SmackDown. Shots were fired by both franchises and this is when Shannon Sharpe unoriginally dubbed Plaxico Burress, “plexiglass”. The 10-2 Steelers had a chance to clinch the division with a victory over the defending Super Bowl Champions that beat them earlier in the season and at 8-4 had a chance to sneak back in the division race for the crown. “They’ll have to go somewhere else to do that”, Ravens cornerback Chris McCallister told ESPN. Even Jerome Bettis got in the act saying that Cincy’s Takeo Spikes was better than Ray Lewis and that the difference was Lewis having a better supporting cast. Jerome was a scratch for the game with a groin pull, but Lewis still would urge Bus to play. “Tell him to tape that groin up and come see me at PSI Net (Stadium). You know, don’t run from it”.
Lewis would definitely back it up by sacking Kordell Stewart on the Steelers’ first drive to disrupt a goal-to-go from the 8. Kris Brown, who missed four field goals in the November loss to B-More in Pittsburgh, wasn’t celebrating “Kris-miss” this time around with a 22-yarder to make the score 3-0. Elvis Grbac was in counter mode though, but he’d take his sweet time capping off a drive of 8 plays and 12-plus minutes with a two-yard score to take a 7-3 lead just :10 seconds in to the second quarter. Without Bettis, Kordell would use his own legs (10 carries for 55 yards) and a trio of running backs consisting of Jon Witman, Chris Fuamatu Ma’afala and Amos Zeroue to carry the Bussy-less load. But the big play on the drive was made by Plaxico with a 32-yard connection from Stewart. Lewis and the Baltimore defense would stiffen at their 15 and Bill Cowher’s team would have to settle for a field goal from Brown of 33-yards. After a Matt Stover miss from 48-out, Kordell relied on Burress for two big plays on the possession. The second was a 26-yard touchdown collaboration for a 13-7 advantage at the two-minute warning. Brian Billick’s quest to see his team take a lead at halftime ended when Grbac’s pass landed :19 seconds later into the waiting sandwich-grabbers of Chad Scott. At intermission, the black and gold led 13-7.
In the second thirty, the Men of Steel continued to control the line of scrimmage and the clock as they dominated time of possession, 40:05 to 18:55. But scoring was at a premium early on with a Brown miss (there it is) and a host of punts as each defense denied quite a bit. However, with 9:24 remaining in the prime time night, Kordell threw a slant over the middle to Bobby Shaw on a 3rd and 7 from his own 10. No. 82 found a seam and raced to tie a team record of 90 yards to paydirt. The score was now 19-7 after a two-point conversion run by Stewart failed. The Ravens wouldn’t go quietly into the night though, as it took less than two minutes for Grbac to find Quadry Ismail for a 14-yard touchdown and the scoreboard now read 19-14.
A once defensive battle turned into an end zone festival as the Steelers answered quickly courtesy of a 38-yard hookup between Slash Stewart and Plex. When Kreider rolled in from the 4, the Steelers were leading 26-14. But the Ravens and Brandon Stokely cracked the plane themselves again very quickly and only trailed by 5 at 26-21 with 1:14 left on the clock. The Steelers, who protected the ball well all evening, ran out the clock and were the last team ever to win an AFC Central title. Plaxico Burress has the best game of his young career, catching 8 balls for 164 yds and a TD. Kordell had one of his finest passing days in his career by completing 20 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns without tossing a pick. The man that the Ravens made sure to mangle his name, emphatically let it be known that his name was indeed Plaxico Burress, and caught 8 passes for 164 yards and a score. The two teams would meet again in the playoffs, but the Steelers won in a rout on their way to a disappointing loss to New England in the AFC Championship Game. Nonetheless, the Steelers may have not won the war of words, but did their speaking on the field and it truly translated well on the PSI Net scoreboard.
September 19, 2004 - Ravens 30, Steelers 13
If any team was responsible for the beginning of the Ben Roethlisberger era starting earlier than planned, it was the Baltimore Ravens. The quarterback plan for the Steelers was to ease their top-pick from Miami of Ohio into the lineup slowly behind Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch, but the football gods had other plans. The fierce Ravens defense featured the usual suspects, but with a new addition in the form of Deion Sanders, but the Ravens had suffered four-straight losses to the black and gold. The game went to the birds immediately as a host of punts and a missed Jeff Reed field goal led to a three-yard Jamal Lewis touchdown and two Matt Stover field goals (35, 27) to make the score 13-0 at the half. Very early in the third, Maddox was crushed on a hit by Gary Baxter popping the ball loose allowing Terrell Suggs to scoop it up and return it all the way to the one, The rout was on when Jamal Lewis rumbled in for the 20-0 advantage.
But the bigger story was Tommy Gun (4/13 for 67 yards) getting forced out of the game with ligament damage in his right elbow. Enter Big Ben. The rookie replaced Maddox on Sunday and merely just handed off in his first series, but then Bill Cowher took the reins of Roethlisberger, who was intercepted by Adalius Thomas on his second pass attempt. But Ben would show the promise of his selection and start to settle in. A 58-yard pass play to Hines Ward led to a 5-yard hookup with Antwaann Randle-El for his first touchdown toss. Then, after a Matt Stover field goal, Ben found Hines Ward in the end zone for six. The 2PC attempt to Plaxico Burress was no good, but the Steelers had new life at 23-13. Driving again with 4:23 remaining, No. 7’s pass intended for Burress was intercepted by Chris McAlister and returned for a 51 yard touchdown to put away the Steelers at 30-13. It was a rough intro for Ben, but he would become big the next week in the face of a hurricane with the rest being history.
December 4, 2008 - Steelers 13, Ravens 9
When the two stingiest defenses in all of football clash with the division title on the line, there are three things to know. Points typically come at a premium, bettors should take the under, and emotions are going to run high. That was the case with this particular slobber knocker in 2008, when the NFL’s #No. 1 (Pittsburgh) and #2 (Baltimore)defenses did not allow a single touchdown for 59:17. After a crazy slugfest in Week 4 where certain Ravens actually bragged about putting a bounty successfully on Rashard Mendenhall, and unsuccessfully on Hines Ward.
M&T Stadium was rocking from the start, but the offenses could only manage a slow dirge. There was no scoring in the first quarter. The highlights included only punts by Mitch Berger and Sam Koch, a Ryan Clark interception after a tipped pass by Ike Taylor on rookie Joe Flacco, and Ray Lewis sack of Ben Roethlisberger near the end of the quarter.
Joe Flacco and the Ravens were first to penetrate the red zone, getting down to the Steelers’ 10 before Matt Stover kicked a 28-yard field goal for the game’s first score of 3-0 with 12:34 left in the second quarter. Big Ben took longer on his squad’s next series, but it too ended in a field goal when Jeff Reed’s kick from 31 away was true to complete a drive of nearly seven minutes. The streak of field goals continued when the purple team got the ball back and Stover blasted another one through, this time one of the 26-yard variety. The half ended with the home team leading the visiting Steelers 6-3.
The third quarter continued to look like the defensive masterpiece that this game was with four straight punts, and the last of those four pinning the black and gold down just outside of their own goal line. The Ravens scored first in the second half after Samari Rolle popped Santonio Holmes after a reception from the 1-yard line with Ed Reed recovering the ball on the Pittsburgh 16. But the Steelers defense held forcing a Stover field goal of 28 yards. The two teams traded sacks (Aaron Smith and Ed Reed) and punts again before the turnover bug bit Pittsburgh again. The Steelers. Aught a break when Keyaron Fox jumped on Santonio’s fumble of a punt, but as the fourth quarter began, a strip sack of Ben by Terrell Suggs put the ball on the ground and was picked up by Brandon McKinney. The Steelers would force a stop though, and Roethlisberger would move his offense to the 12 for Jeff Reed to kick a 27-yarder to inch closer at 9-6 with 9:26 remaining in a brutal battle.
The problem existed though that the Ravens had the ball back with the potential to drain the clock on a sustained drive knowing that a touchdown would put the game out of reach. Flacco and the Ravens started out at their own 25 and ran nearly five minutes off of the game clock before facing a 3rd and 8 at the Steelers 27, well in Matt Stover’s range. But a gang of white shirts stampeded towards the Baltimore rookie signal caller with Lawrence Timmons nailing No. 5 from his blind side and forcing a fumble that the Ravens recovered at the 41, forcing them to punt and setting up one of the most crucial drives in Pittsburgh Steelers history.
The punt was fair caught by Mewlde Moore at the 8 and it was the fourth time that the Steelers’ were pinned inside the ten from the leg of Sam Koch. With 3:36 on the clock and two timeouts, Roethlisberger needed to only get the Steelers in Jeff Reed‘s field-goal range for the tie, but that concept was too dangerous. The Steelers needed a touchdown and a dream the clock, not an easy task against the purple gang of monsters staring him down on the other side of the line. Through key passes to Hines Ward (8 catches for 107 yards) and Nate Washington (5 catches for 74 yards), Big Ben led his unit down the field and staring at a 3rd and Goal at the 4, after a curious spike that wasted a down. On that critical play with :43 seconds remaining, Ben did one of his patented reverse-the-field scrambles to evade trouble. No. 7 then noticed Holmes and ripped it. back across the field to Holmes. Santonio caught the ball right at the goal line with both feet in the end zone, but the officials initially spotted the ball inches from the end zone. After further review, however, Referee Walt Coleman reversed the decision and the Steelers had the touchdown and a 13-9 lead. Although one sideline camera on the goal line showed that the nose of the ball had broken the plane of the goal line, Ravens Coach John Harbaugh vehemently disagreed with the ruling. “It didn’t look to me like the ball broke the plane,” Harbaugh told ESPN . “That’s what I saw. It’s my understanding that the ball has to cross the plane. We’ll be looking forward to hearing if that’s a fact. I asked for an explanation, but no one was explaining too much at that point in time. So, we were moving on.”
The game was not over though, as Reed was nailed 15 yards for unnecessary roughness on his point after that was assessed on the kickoff that helped put the Ravens in position to go for the win with :40 seconds and two timeouts remaining. Flacco would complete to Willis McGahee for a first down and then launch one deep to Yamon Figurs in the end zone. It looked for a second that Figurs was open, but the secondary converged and William Gay intercepted the prayer to ice the game.
It was a spectacular performance by the visiting Men of Steel, verging on becoming a special year. “Ain’t no special season until you win that Super Bowl,” Pittsburgh linebacker Larry Foote said to ESPN. Foote and his teammates would validate that statement less than two months later.
December 5, 2010 - Steelers 13, Ravens 10
just like it always seems to be written, the Steelers and Ravens were both 8-3 and fighting it out for the AFC North Crown. The Ravens had beaten the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger in Week 4 and a win on Sunday Night Football would most likely sew up the division for the black and purple. On the field that night were 22 Pro Bowkers, three Defensive Players of the Year and three Hall of Famers (with the future promising many more). B-More got the ball first and Flacco win deep to Todd Heap who pulled a hammy and was gone for the night. It was an injury that would hinder the offense for his squad in this game. On third down, rookie Marshall Yanda jumped off sides, but it wasn’t called. The missed penalty didn’t matter as Ziggy Hood busted through and got the sack. On came Big Ben with a bad foot and a shoe 1 1⁄2 sizes too big. His maladies got worse on 3rd and 8 when Haloti Ngata stormed through to sack No. 7 and bloody his nose. The Steelers would deny that Ben’s schnozz was broken, but there was plasma everywhere and the QB’s nose was sideways.
After the punt, we got to see vintage Polamalu when Troy flew through to drop Willis McGahee on first down for a loss of four on third down, to force a punt. But there would be no punt initially, as Head Coach John Harbaugh will always be known for a good bit of unsuccessful trickery. Haruki Nakamura took a direct snap and looked to be free, but the yellow flag nestled in the turf negated it due to Brendan Ayenbadejo being called for a false start. Now the punt.
After the Steelers did nothing with the opportunity, Flacco took advantage of a Polamalu blitz on 3rd and 15 from the his own 3 and hooked up with Anquan Boldin for a gain of 61 and out of peril. Boldin would cap off the 10-play drive by beating McFadden again for a 14-yard score and a lead of 7-0 with 1:59 left in the quarter.
On the next possession, the Steelers took over at the 20. Ben was getting harassed by Terrell Suggs with hurries and a sack. Mewelde Moore looked to have a first down on the series, but Harbs challenged the spot and won as Dan Sepulveda came on to punt. More punts ensued by both squads after that, but Sepulveda was injured on the next one and lost for the game. To make matters worse, Ladarius Webb returned the punt all the way to the Steelers 49. It seemed like the Steelers were about to put points on the board when Ben started hooking up with TE David Johnson and rookie Antonio Brown, but Ben was picked when he went for the big one to AB and he was thieved by Josh Wilson at the Ravens 2.
The Wilson interception gave Baltimore momentum, and it looked like they would put a player in the end zone, especially when Flacco launched one deep for Donte Stallworth, burning Bryant McFadden for 67 yards and a first down on the 27. Stallworth was in for Derrick Mason, another costly, Ravens injury. McFadden, as well, was hampered with a bad hamstring. There would be no touchdown on this drive, however as Ike Taylor saved the day with a corner blitz of Flacco and the return of the punting unit.
The Steelers would move the ball into enemy territory, but the series was marred with mistakes. Luckily, Richard Mendenhall recovered an Isaac Redmen fumble on 4th and 2 giving been a chance to convert with a pass to David Johnson. But the usually surehanded Hines Ward dropped a sure first down to bring on kicker Shaun Suisham to punt away and conclude the half at 7-0.
The visitors were successful somewhat to start the third as Mendenhall got to work and started moving the chains with his legs. Ward and Mike Wallace also had big plays to move the Steelers into Baltimore territory, but Suggs and Company clamped down and the Steelers could only muster a 45 yard field goal by Suisham. The Ravens answered with a field goal of their own by Billy Cundiff extended their lead to 10-3 with 7:10 left in the third.
Disaster for the Steelers would almost strike next as Suggs’ sack loosened Ben’s grip on the ball. Luckily Chris Kemoeatu was able to seize the football as it squirted backwards and rumble back to the Pittsburgh 20. This is where the lack of discipline from Harbaugh’s undisciplined Ravens defense started to haunt them. The Steelers escaped having to punt when Nakamura got called for grabbing Heath Miller‘s jersey, and Ben’s quick count caused the defense to jump offsides for a neutral zone infraction. There was major concern when Jameel McClain’s unpenalized head shot on a defenseless Heath Miller left the tight end lying on the turf for minutes. Right after losing Miller, the offensive line was depleted even more when Flozell Adam’s am was injured. But on 3rd and 11, Big Ben escaped trouble, rolled right, and hit Sanders for a first down to end the quarter. But Mendenhall got stuffed on two straight runs with goal to go, and Wallace was pushed backwards. Enter Suisham for a disappointing, but necessary 19-yard field goal and a 10-6 score with 12;42 left.
The next four series all ended in punts as LaMarr Woolley snuffed out a cute fake reverse attempt, Johnson and Hines ran into each other causing confusion that led to a sack of Ben, and Suisham was put in a position where he barely got a punt off deep in the Steelers end.
The milking by the Eavens commenced with less than four minutes left on the clock, but James Harrison halted all of that when he blitzed freeing Polamalu to burst in and knock the ball free from Flacco. Woodley would proceed to scoop it up and rumble all the way down to the Ravens’ 10. But there’s a big bit and I’m not talking the one attached to black-and-gold great Casey Hampton. The steelers were facing a stingy Defense and it was going to be hard to get in the end zone. Suggs bombarded Roethlisberger with a fierce rush, but the big fella broke free, and in vintage Ben style, found a way to improvise and flip the ball out of bounds. After an overthrow to Hines, things looked bleak on third down until No. 7 threw into traffic to Isaac Redman, who pin board all the way into the end zoneto make it 13-10 with 2:51 remaining in an instant classic.
There was way too much time on the clock for the Baltimore, faithful to give up on their black and purple. The Steelers threw everything at Flacco, including a sack on first down, perpetrated by Harrison and James Farrior. But a 4th and 2 conversion and a McFadden PI moved the chains for the home team at M&T. Another 4th and 2 came with 37 seconds left, though this time Gartior got a finger on Flacco’s pass, not allowing it to get to Ed Dickson to prevail. Mike Tomlin’s Steelers would move to 9-3 and eventually defeat the birds for a third time in the 2010 season in the divisional round of the playoffs. This was a contest that best describes the brutality and brilliant brand of ball every time these to franchises would lace it up and battle.
November 2013 - Ravens 22, Steelers 20
On a day that commemorates a peaceful meeting between the Pilgrims and Native Americans a few centuries, the Ravens and Steelers animosity took a little over a minute to surface during the Thanksgiving battle between the two AFC North rivals that had Soon after, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco got the home team on the scoreboard when he reprised his collaboration of a 55-yard bomb to Torrey Smith with a seven-yard touchdown to put the Ravens up, 7-0. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense failed to get much going, including a field goal attempt that Shaun Suisham never got a foot on with 7:19 left before the second quarter. The Ravens got great field positioning following the botch, which led to a 43-yard field goal by Justin Tucker. The kick extended the lead to 10-0 late in the second quarter. The Ravens would get booed by the Birdland faithful for not attempting a drive that would have led to a field goal attempt, but Harbaugh’ s team went to halftime with a two-score lead.
After halftime, the Ravens got the ball back and dominated the line of scrimmage and the clock, taking nearly six minutes off of it and capped-off with a 34-yard field goal by Tucker, his 24th-straight make. Baltimore was up big time at 16-0 with nine minutes left in the third quarter. The Steelers would counter though when rookie rusher Le’Veon Bell (136 total yards and a TD) reeled off a 43-yard run that led to a Roethlisberger touchdown throw to Emmanuel Sanders and cut the deficit to 16-7 towards the end of the third quarter with 6:27 to go.
The Ravens’ Jacoby Jones nearly ran back a kick return for a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff, but Cortez Allen just wrestled Jones down. The save was aided by Head Coach Mike Tomlin who was standing on the field while watching the play on the big screen and hopped out of the way at the last possible second. The truly inadvertent interference was deemed dirty by the Ravens faithful for thwarting a sure touchdown, and Tomlin was later fined handsomely. The 73-yard run did back gave the Ravens momentum again as they scored on another field goal by Tucker (after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by running back Ray Rice). The touchdown and an extra point gave Baltimore a 16-7 lead.
The Ravens added another Tucker field goal at the start of the fourth as the Ravens led 19-7 with 14:03 left in the contest. The Steelers would rally though with a Bell plunge from the 1 with 9:36 left on the clock and the Steelers within striking distance at 19-14. It was Tucker that would make a comeback a little tougher, though, when he followed a Flacco drive of 37 yards with a 48-yarder with 3:55 left on Turkey Night.
Trailing by 8, Ben needed to guide his team 80 yards for a chance at a two-point conversion and a tie. It would be difficult, though. Ben would employ Heath Miller for four catches on four targets and 45 yards. Two touchdowns were reversed by replay, one by Miller, and another by Bell, who was injured on the play when his helmet fell off and the rookie had his unprotected bell rung. Le’Veon was clearly in the end zone, but because his helmet was jarred loose and flew off before he crossed the plane, the play was ruled dead immediately. Finally, with 1:06 showing on the clock did the Steelers officially score with a Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery from the 1. It looked like Sanders has tied the game on the 2PC, but despite it being a tough catch, Manny clearly dropped the pass and the Steelers failed to tie. When the onside kick was errant, the Ravens won a thriller. Pittsburgh would rally and almost make the playoffs until the Chiefs and Ryan Succop blew a game in Week 17 to keep the black and gold home for the postseason. A win here would have helped punch a ticket for a team that was hot down the stretch after starting 0-4.
January 9, 2022 - Steelers 16, Ravens 13 (OT)
With their playoff hopes hanging by a thread, winning was the need for both the 8-7-1 Steelers and 8-8 Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. The hope of Mike Tomlin’s team seemed dim with the necessary scenario being the hapless 2-14 Jacksonville Jaguars somehow upsetting the 9-7 Indianapolis Colts to make the postseason. There were other interesting subplots for the Steelers, as it could’ve been Ben Roethlisberger’s final regular season game of his career, and T.J. Watt was needing just two sacks to set a new NFL single-season sack record. Baltimore was driving on their first possession, but a mishandled snap by Tyler Huntley resulted in a fumble recovery by the Steelers. The visitors converted the turnover into a Chris Boswell field goal into a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Baltimore and Huntley turned the pigskin over again with an interception by Terrell Edmunds for the Steelers’ second takeaway of the game. However, the Steelers gave the ball right back when Ben Roethlisberger’s pass intended for Ray-Ray McCloud was intercepted by Geno Stone. A Justin Tucker field goal was all they could muster and the score was tied at 3 at halftime
The Baltimore Ravens received the football to start the second half, and they came out of the locker room at M&T looking like an inspired football team not ready to lay down. Tyler Huntley converted a key third down, and it was Latavius Murray with a 46-yard touchdown run up the gut for the first touchdown of the game. The Ravens led the game 10-3. Pittsburgh began what looked to be a productive drive of their own, but Bennie Snell Jr., in for a hurting Najee Harris, was stopped short on a 3rd and 1 at the 21. Mike Tomlin. not wanting to risk a turnover on downs, sent out Chris Boswell for a 40-yard field goal to make the score 10-6 with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter. Baltimore’s offense looked to add to their point total on the next drive, and some big runs by Murray set the Ravens up in the red-zone. However, Huntley’s pass intended for Mark Andrews was intercepted by Cam Sutton in the end zone at the very start of the fourth.
After a trading-off of punts, Ray-Ray McCloud set up the offense at the 50-yard line for their next drive. Chase Claypool moved the offense down the field with both receptions and runs, and it was Claypool who capped off the drive with a touchdown grab to give the Steelers a 13-10 with 2:54 left in regulation. But that was way too much time, as Huntley engineered a drive to put the Ravens’ in gimme Justin Tucker range. No. 9’s 46-yard field goal tied the game 13-13 with 1:13 left in regulation.
With the stakes being raised as word of Jacksonville’s shocking upset of Indianapolis paving the way for the winner to inch closer to a playoff berth, Baltimore won the coin toss, and elected to take the football. Latavius Murray moved the ball near midfield, but the Pittsburgh defense stiffened and forced a punt. Needing just a field goal to win the game, and punch their ticket to the playoffs, huge third down completions to Pat Freiermuth and Diontae Johnson had the offense nearing Boswell’s range. On 3rd and 8, Johnson dropped a pass and the Steelers were staring at a daunting 4th and 8. Mike Tomlin elected to go for it with 2:28 remaining in overtime, and the pass was completed to Ray-Ray McCloud for the first down. After a Najee Harris 14-yard run, Chris Boswell nailed the 36-yarder for the 16-13 win, but the Steelers weren’t in the playoffs just yet. Of all things, the Sunday Night Football contest between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders could not end in a tie. Somebody had to lose for the Steelers to get in as a seventh seed. It appeared that a tie was going to occur, but L.A. Head Coach Brandon Staley fooled around with a timeout late on OT and the Raiders went for the jugular when they were set to settle for a tie. With Vegas winning, the Steelers punched a ticket to the postseason by beating their bitter rivals on the road and getting some unexpected help along the way.