They did it. The Pittsburgh Steelers did just enough at just the right time to get the win against their toughest division rival, the Baltimore Ravens. This game was Steelers’ football in December. At times it wasn’t pretty, but the end result and the single act of sheer determination and strength that helped seal the deal were spectacular for fans of the Black and Gold to witness. Let’s take a look at the good, bad and ugly of this game.
- The No. 1 slot goes again to perseverance. This team didn’t give up. Guided by their leader, Ben Roethlisberger, the offense kept finding ways to move the ball and get points in a game where they trailed late and, ultimately, put the go-ahead points on the board and left the Ravens in a 4-point deficit with only nine seconds remaining.
- The offensive line played a great game. Anytime Le’Veon Bell runs for 122 yards and Roethlisberger isn’t sacked once all evening, I’d say that’s a good day at the office for the men up front.
- In case you missed it, Antonio Brown is really good. That stretch over the goal line with Mosley and company draped all over him, while also getting his neck realigned was beautiful. Furthermore, it would appear that Eli Rogers and Big Ben are developing a good chemistry. His four catches for 84 yards definitely helped keep the Ravens from giving Brown too much attention.
- The linebackers are playing very solid as a unit. James Harrison tallied nine tackles, Lawrence Timmons had eight plus a monster sack, Ryan Shazier tallied five with an interception and Bud Dupree added three plus a sack. I think we’ll see more great play out of this unit going forward.
- Interceptions are a problem. All credit to Ben for staying the course and throwing the game winner, but I think fans can agree that we’d rather see our favorite quarterback not need the last minute heroics to stave off an early exit for the season.
- Tackling was an issue Sunday and it really showed on the touchdown run by Jusczyk along with a couple long runs by Dixon. I believe they know how to fix this and getting a healthy Stephon Tuitt back for the playoffs will help in this regard.
- Kickoff-out-of-bounds penalties can kill your team. Whatever the call might have been, it didn’t work, twice. Giving the ball to your opponent at their 40 yard line is never a good idea. Why is it that the special teams just seem to find ways to make critical errors? After the Week 17 game, the competition only gets tougher. A game could come down to a special teams play and a chance to move on could be lost because of these types of plays. Here’s hoping the chewing gum champ finds a way to fix it, and fast.
After all is said and done, I can’t really throw much negativity at the Steelers following a win of this magnitude. They showed their grit and their will to win at the perfect time. This game had a little of everything that makes for great football viewing. The moment Brown scored and the clock read :09 was pretty special for Steelers Nation. This team gutted out a win against a dangerous, all-too-familiar foe, and came out pretty clean on the injury front. They can rest a whole bunch of players in Week 17 and they should. They need to be healthy for whoever comes to town for the first game of the playoffs.