It took a back and forth shootout that took until the waning seconds, but the Pittsburgh Steelers outlasted the Baltimore Ravens 39-38. It was the rare shootout in a rivalry that has finished with a toss-up matchup in almost every game.
The win led to the Pittsburgh Steelers clinching the AFC North for the second consecutive season. The Steelers, at 11-2, are now four wins ahead of the Baltimore Ravens, who sit at 7-6.
Ben Roethlisberger is performing at one of the best levels of his career and threw for over 500 yards. Antonio Brown added in over 200 himself and the Steelers edged out one of the better defensive teams in the NFL to put up 545 total yards and 39 points.
The fact of the matter is that while the win is nice, and the game meant a lot, it was a result free game. The Steelers could lose this game, come back and win next week against the New England Patriots and all would be forgiven. Obviously beating the Patriots would have been no walk in the park, but there is the idea that when the score goes to 31-20 in the fourth quarter that this team could have just wrapped it up and thought about the following week, and meaning and impact of that game.
However, the Steelers hung tough and won the game, trailing by two scores in two separate occasions in the fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger said it in his post game and bears repeating that the team had the thoughts of Ryan Shazier in their minds as they played this game. That was something that gave them that ability to stick around in this game and force the Ravens into decisions and situations where they would make mistakes. They do not grade wins, but the resiliency that this team shows week in and week out can be argued as equally as impressive as any blow out.