In a game that didn’t feature much offense, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger did just enough to beat the Baltimore Ravens 16-13 in overtime in the regular season finale. With help from the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Steelers are currently in the playoffs and will remain in the field unless the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers tie on Sunday Night Football.
The Steelers got the ball to start the game, and WR Ray-Ray McCloud opened the game up with a 32-yard kick return, so the Steelers started off their drive at their own 38-yard line. Two straight runs by RB Najee Harris only netted two yards, and on third-and-eight, QB Ben Roethlisberger threw to Harris for a gain of four. Harris appeared to be injured on the play and the Steelers were forced to punt. P Pressley Harvin III came back after a two-game absence, and his punt travelled 36 yards to the Baltimore 20-yard line, which is where their drive would start.
Baltimore faced a third-and-five on their opening drive, but QB Tyler Huntley connected with rookie WR Rashod Bateman for a 19-yard gain and a first down. After an end-around run by WR Devin Duvernay, OLB T.J. Watt appeared to tie the NFL single-season sack record with a strip sack and fumble recovery, but it was ruled a fumble recovery and Watt wasn’t credited with the sack. Still, the play gave the Steelers possession in plus territory at the Baltimore 39.
On first down, Roethlisberger hit TE Zach Gentry for an 11-yard gain, and then with Harris sidelined with an injury, RB Benny Snell Jr. gained five yards. After an incompletion and a run for a loss of a yard, WR Diontae Johnson picked up ten yards on third-and-11 but got popped at the end of the play and he went down with an injury. Facing fourth-and-one at the Baltimore 5, the Steelers kept the offense on the field but the Steelers were flagged for false start. K Chris Boswell came out and hit a 28-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 3-0 lead with 6:06 left in the first half.
After a Ravens first down, DE Cam Heyward got his tenth sack of the season, and on the next play Huntley was picked off by S Terrell Edmunds. The Steelers’ second takeaway of the game gave them possession at their own 34. Johnson returned for the Steelers, but Harris was still on the sidelines. The Steelers converted a third-and-six on a seven-yard reception by TE Pat Freiermuth. On the next play though, Roethlisberger overthrew McCloud and was picked off by S Geno Stone. Baltimore took over at their own 25.
On the first play of the drive, RB Devonta Freeman ran for 22 yards and moved Baltimore to their 47, but on second down Freeman was taken down for a loss of five by CB Arthur Maulet. An 11-yard gain by WR Marquise Brown set up third-and-four. Huntley was stopped short of the line to gain by DE Chris Wormley, and the Ravens came out to punt. P Sam Koch tried a fake punt, but it was broken up and the Steelers took over on downs.
The Steelers drive was ugly, as on first down Roethlisberger’s pass to McCloud went for no gain, and on second down Patrick Queen shot the gap untouched for a loss of six yards. On third-and-16, a screen to McCloud gained 7 and the Steelers punted. Harvin III’s punt went 34 yards and was fielded for a fair catch at the Baltimore 21. The Ravens went three-and-out, and the Steelers took over at their own 29 after a holding penalty by Marcus Allen on the punt return cost them 10 yards. On second-and-eight, Roethlisberger found Gentry wide-open in the seam for a 25 yard gain to move Pittsburgh to the Baltimore 45. Pittsburgh couldn’t capitalize and ended up punting away from the Baltimore 42. Baltimore would take over at their own 16 after a fair catch with 8:46 left in the first half.
Baltimore picked up two first downs but punted away from their own 41 after a great pass rush by Watt forced a bad throw by Huntley on third-and-eight. The Steelers took over at their own 19 but went three-and-out. Harvin’s punt took a favorable roll and ended up going 50 yards and was downed at the Baltimore 29 with 4:29 left in the first half. After a first down reception by Andrews that went 28 yards, the Ravens couldn’t pick up another first down and punted. Koch’s punt was downed at the Pittsburgh 7, so the Steelers faced a long field with 2:35 left in the first half. Pittsburgh again went three-and-out and had to punt from their own end zone with 1:52 left in the half. Harvin III’s punt was bad, going just 33 yards and setting up the Ravens at the Pittsburgh 40.
Baltimore quickly got to work, moving into the Pittsburgh 10 within three plays. On second-and-goal, Cam Heyward sacked Tyler Huntley but was penalized for unnecessary roughness on a helmet-to-helmet hit. Baltimore had first-and-goal at the three-yard line, and Huntley was sacked by Watt. The sack officially tied the NFL single-season sack record set by Michael Strahan. On second-and-goal, Huntley was incomplete to Brown, and on third-and-goal Wat deflected Huntley’s pass. Justin Tucker hit a 24-yard field goal and the score was tied at 3-3 with 14 seconds left in the half. The score would remain 3-3 heading into the half after the Steelers knelt to end the half.
The Ravens opened the second half with possession, and on third-and-six Huntley scrambled for an eight-yard gain and a first down, and on the next play RB Latavius Murray gained ten yards and another first down. Murray ran untouched for 46 yards and a touchdown on the next play, and the Ravens took a 10-3 lead after Tucker’s extra point.
The Steelers picked up a first down after a seven-yard run by Snell and a five-yard completion to Johnson. WR Chase Claypool ran for 14 yards on an end around and then Roethlisberger found Johnson for a gain of 16 yards that brought Pittsburgh inside the Baltimore 30. After a run by Snell for one yard, Johnson gained eight, but on third-and-one Snell was stuffed for no gain. The Steelers kicked a field goal, and Boswell was good from 40 yards and the Baltimore lead was cut to 10-6 with 7:41 left in the third quarter.
Duvernay returned the kickoff to the Baltimore 34, and two one-yard gains gave Baltimore a third-and-eight. On third-and-eight, Huntley’s completion to Brown was short of the line to gain and Baltimore punted. Koch’s punt went just 23 yards, and the Steelers got the ball at their own 35. Najee Harris returned to the field for Pittsburgh, and on first down he ran for a gain of three yards. On second-and-seven, McCloud dropped a pass and on third-and-seven Roethlisberger was sacked. Pittsburgh punted, and Duvernay was tackled at the Baltimore 25-yard line.
On first down, Murray ran for 22 yards and the Ravens moved to their 47. Murray busted another big run, this one for 27 yards and Baltimore was officially in business at the Pittsburgh 26. On second-and-seven, Murray gained six yards and on third-and-one Baltimore ran it with TE Mark Andrews but he was short of the first. On fourth-and-inches, the Ravens picked up the first down after Huntley reached the line to gain with a second effort reach. On the final play of the third quarter, RB Ty’Son Williams ran for three yards to the Pittsburgh 12.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, CB Cam Sutton picked off Huntley in the end zone and the Pittsburgh offense came back on the field. After a two-yard reception by Harris on first down, Claypool ran for 17 yards and a first down on second-and-eight. On second-and-11, Claypool picked up ten on a reception and then Harris gained 10 and a first down on third-and-one. A 24-yard completion on second-and-ten to Snell was taken off the board due to a facemask against OT Joe Haeg, and the Steelers faced second-and-25. An incompletion by Roethlisberger made it third-and-25. A seven-yard completion on third down brought out the punt team. Harvin’s punt pinned Baltimore inside the 20 at their 14, but with 9:55 left there wasn’t a ton of time left for the Steelers.
On third-and-two, the Steelers got the stop they needed, stuffing Murray for no gain. Baltimore punted, and Pittsburgh got a solid return by McCloud, who brought it 23 yards to midfield. Claypool got eight on a reception on first down and then got a two-yard run and a first down on and end-around. Johnson lost two yards on a screen pass on first-and-ten, and on second-and-12 Freiermuth gained eight. On third-and-four, OG John Leglue was flagged for a false start, which set up a third-and-nine. On third-and-nine, McCloud gained 20 and held on through a hit over the middle. Pittsburgh had first-and-ten on the Baltimore 19, but Roethlisberger’s first down pass was incomplete to Freiermuth. Harris gained four yards on second-and-ten, which brought a crucial third-and-six. On third down, Roethlisberger went back to his rookie tight end and Freiermuth came through to pick up the first down and get a few extra yards for first-and-goal at the Baltimore four.
On first down, OT Chukwuma Okorafor was flagged for a false start, so Pittsburgh moved back five yards to the Baltimore 9-yard line. A three-yard gain to Johnson set up a six-yard touchdown pass to Claypool. Boswell’s extra point was good, and the Steelers took a 13-10 lead with 2:54 left in the game. Roethlisberger was 7/8 for 54 yards and a touchdown on the drive.
Huntley’s pass on first down was incomplete, but on second-and-ten he was complete over the middle to Mark Andrews for an 11-yard gain and he scrambled for 23 yards on the next play to the Pittsburgh 34. On the first play out of the two-minute warning, Edmunds broke up a pass intended for Andrews. On second-and-ten, Huntley hit Andrews for an eight-yard gain, and on third-and-two, Huntley was short of the first down. Justin Tucker came out for a 46-yard field goal try to tie the game, and the kick was good. With 1:13 left, the Steelers and Ravens were tied at 13.
The stage was set for an Hollywood ending. Ben Roethlisberger’s (likely) final season, 1:13 left and the Steelers with the ball. A score would likely send them to the playoffs and would eliminate their archrival Baltimore Ravens from playoff contention. However, reality isn’t like the movies. A first down completion to Freiermuth gave the Steelers a first down and advanced the ball to the Baltimore 35. Roethlisberger was incomplete to McCloud on first-and-ten, and with 52 seconds left Pittsburgh faced second-and-ten. On second down, Claypool gained six yards. On third-and-four, Roethlisberger threw short of the sticks and Freiermuth was just short of the first down, and Pittsburgh punted, and Harvin again pinned the Ravens inside the 20 at their 18. A first down to Mark Andrews moved Baltimore to their 30, and on first down S Minkah Fitzpatrick made a much-needed pass breakup on a pass to Brown to bring on second down. Huntley was incomplete on second down, so with 20 seconds left, Baltimore faced third-and-ten. His pass was incomplete deep to Andrews, and it was the Ravens turn to punt. With seven seconds left, the Steelers knelt and sent the game to overtime.
Roethlisberger called heads on the coin toss to begin overtime, but it was tails and the Ravens started overtime with the ball. Baltimore would start the drive on their own 24 after the return by Duvernay. On first down, Murray ran for a first down, and they went right back to him for another four yards. On second-and-six, Huntley scrambled for another four yards, and the Ravens faced third-and-two. Murray ran for three yards and the first on third-and-two to give Baltimore a new set of downs. Cam Heyward came through like he has all season for the Steelers to hold Murray to just one yard. On second down, CB Ahkello Witherspoon broke up Huntley’s pass and make it third-and-nine. Huntley was incomplete to Andrews, and the Ravens punted. Koch’s punt was received by McCloud for a fair catch at their own 17.
Roethlisberger’s pass on first down to Harris was high but the rookie pulled it down with one hand and his run after the catch gave the Steelers a first down. On second-and-seven, Roethlisberger was incomplete to Claypool, and the third-and-seven pass by Roethlisberger to Freiermuth was complete for a first down and 14 yards. With 5:13 on the clock, the Steelers had the ball on their own 45, just needing a score to win. Pittsburgh gained two on first down on a pass to Gentry, and Harris was stopped for a loss of one on second-and-eight.
On third-and-nine, Roethlisberger threw it short to Johnson and he ran for a first down and picked up 11 yards. Pittsburgh moved into Baltimore territory at their 43. Harris ran for two yards on first down, and on second-and-eight the pass to McCloud was incomplete. Pittsburgh took a timeout before the third-and-eight play. Johnson dropped the pass on third-and-eight, and the Steelers offense stayed on the field on fourth-and-eight instead of trying the 60-yard field goal with Boswell. On fourth-and-eight, Roethlisberger found McCloud for the first down and the Steelers season, and Roethlisberger’s career, lived on for at least one more play. On second-and-ten after a run for no gain, Harris bounced a run to the outside and gained 15 yards to the Baltimore 16. Roethlisberger knelt to get in position for the field goal after the two-minute warning. Boswell came out for the field goal to keep Pittsburgh’s season alive, and he made the 36-yard field goal. The Steelers won, and finished their regular season at 9-7-1.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars win over the Indianapolis Colts earlier in the day, the Steelers are in the playoffs barring a tie between the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday Night Football.