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Steelers Sweep Ravens, Await Playoff Fate

It was a cold rainy Saturday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium where the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens wrapped up their regular seasons.  Baltimore had already clinched the number one seed in the AFC, so they rested many of their top players.  Pittsburgh was sitting outside the playoffs prior to the game and even with a win needed some help if they hoped for a postseason birth.

There was not a much offense in this game as the weather wreaked havoc on the ball carrier’s ability to hold onto the football, with both teams losing two fumbles on the day.  Pittsburgh was able to score first, and never trail in the game, when Najee Harris scored a 6-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.  Baltimore would answer late in the second quarter when Tyler Huntley threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Likely which would send the game into halftime tied up at seven. 

After a scoreless third quarter, the Steelers would open the fourth with a 71-yard touchdown pass from Mason Rudolph to Diontae JohnsonChris Boswell would put the road team up ten on a 25-yard field goal at the 3:17 mark.  The final points were scored when Ravens kicker Justin Tucker converted a 36-yard field goal.

Aside from the one fumble, Rudolph was efficient from the pocket going 18-20 for 152 yards and one touchdown pass.  Harris would rush for 112 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown and go over the 1,000- yard mark on the season.  Johnson was the leading receiver with four catches for 89 yards and a touchdown

The Steelers defense controlled a Baltimore offense that was without their top weapons.  They were able to collect four sacks on the day, with T.J. Watt picking up two.  Watt did leave the game in the second half with a knee injury.  Hopefully it is nothing serious and he can play if there is a game next week.  Eric Rowe led the team with 12 tackles. 

This was a much needed 17-10 victory for Pittsburgh, since the win was their best path to the playoffs.  They now need the Indianapolis/Houston game to end in a tie Saturday night or a loss by either Jacksonville or Buffalo on Sunday.  While it is exciting to still be in the hunt, you must wonder where this team would be if they handled their business against lesser opponents earlier in the season.

Overall Record:  10-7

Zane Heiple

Zane is Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands and a weekly contributor for Armchair Report on NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA related topics. He's also the smartest man in the world. Just ask him.