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Steelers win division, give Shazier game ball

Posted Dec 10, 2017

The Steelers defeated the Ravens 39-38 and gave Ryan Shazier the game ball.

The Steelers won the AFC North and clinched a playoff berth with an exciting last second 39-38 win over the Ravens, on a night filled with emotion as the team honored Ryan Shazier with the game ball afterwards, and had him on FaceTime to enjoy the locker room celebration.

Shazier suffered a spinal injury that required surgery this week, and his teammates honored him all night wearing t-shirts with 50 on them, many of them with cleats honoring him pregame, and players bringing his jersey to the field and holding it up in his honor pregame and postgame.

“I’m glad we could get this win for Shay,” said Ben Roethlisberger. “It was really tough. I went and saw Shay on Thursday after practice. Guys are starting to go visit him. When you walk in and see him and give him a hug, it makes you breathe a little easier. We love our brother and we are glad we got this win for him.”

It took a full team effort, and another Chris Boswell game-winning field goal, to give the Steelers their eighth AFC North title. After taking an early 14-0 lead, the Steelers fell behind 38-29 late, but never gave up. They fought back, and Boswell hit a 46-yard field goal, his fourth of the night, to seal the exciting win.

A fired-up defense got the Steelers off to a strong start. The Ravens were driving, and on third-and-four from the Steelers 30-yard line, Joe Flacco went deep to Jeremy Maclin. Sean Davis made the first big play of the game when he picked off the pass, and returned it 35 yards to the 41-yard line.

And the offense, well they weren’t about to waste the turnover. Ben Roethlisberger hit Martavis Bryant for eight yards, and on third-and-two Le’Veon Bell fought for two yards. Jesse James pulled in back-to-back receptions of 11 and nine yards, and Bell took it for another nine yards. Roethlisberger then hit Bell, who broke three tackles for a 20-yard touchdown reception and 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Following a strong defensive stand, the Steelers offense went back to work. Roethlisberger hit Bell for seven yards, then Bell ran for 10. Vance McDonald, who returned to the field tonight after battling an ankle injury but later left the game with a shoulder injury, looked good pulling in a 19-yard reception, then followed it up with a six-yard catch. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 28-yard reception, that he pulled in on the sideline and stayed in bounds at the six-yard line. A false start set the Steelers back, but a pass interference call gave the Steelers a first down at the one-yard line. Bell worked his magic, with the slight hesitation, and then easily ran it in for the one-yard score and 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The Ravens answered, with a healthy dose of Alex Collins on the ground, who had five carries for 28 yards on the drive. Flacco capped the drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore, to close the Steelers lead to 14-7.

The Steelers moved the ball down the field on the next drive when Roethlisberger went deep to Brown for a 43-yard completion at the Ravens 27-yard line. The offense sputtered a little after that, when Roethlisberger was sacked for a six-yard loss. Chris Boswell was called upon, and came through with a 52-yard field goal, extending the lead to 17-7.

Some big plays got the Ravens right back in the game before halftime. Flacco hit Mike Wallace for 18 yards, and then Collins pulled in a short reception, but broke the tackles and ran it down the sideline for a 37-yard gain to the 30-yard line. Collins then took it 18 yards for the touchdown, cutting the lead to 17-14.

The Steelers took over with 1:53 to play in the half at their own 25-yard line. Roethlisberger hit James for 11 yards, and Bryant for seven yards, and then Bryant again for three yards to move the chains. Roethlisberger was sacked by Anthony Levine Sr. for a loss of five yards, and couldn’t connect with Brown on a sideline route. On third-and-15, Roethlisberger hit Rogers for a 16-yard gain. Roethlisberger spiked the ball to stop the clock with 27 ticks left in the half. Roethlisberger hit McDonald for 18 yards, and Roethlisberger spiked the ball again to stop the clock at 12 seconds. Boswell hit a 43-yard field goal with one-second to play in the half, to send the Steelers into the locker room up 20-14 at halftime.

After the Steelers were unable to move the ball on their opening drive of the second half, they were forced to punt for the first time in the game. Flacco got the Ravens downfield fast hitting Mike Wallace for a 40-yard gain to the Steelers 33-yard line. Collins took it for four yards, and on third down T.J. Watt pressured Flacco, who then couldn’t connect with Maclin. Justin Tucker came on for a 47-yard field goal, cutting the lead to three again, 20-17.

The Steelers started deep in their own territory on the ensuing drive after Bryant fielded the kickoff at the one-yard line, and was only able to take it to the nine-yard line. Bell managed just three yards on two carries, and on third down Roethlisberger and James were unable to connect. Jordan Berry booted the punt 48 yards to the Ravens’ 40-yard line, where they took over.

The Ravens took their first lead of the game when they marched down the field on seven plays for 60 yards, capping it with a one-yard touchdown run by Javorius Allen for a 24-20 lead.

After another punt, it didn’t take long for the Ravens to get in Steelers territory. Collins ran for 21 yards, and a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call on Sean Davis was tacked on, giving the Ravens the ball at the Steelers 38-yard line. A pass interference call on Artie Burns tacked on another 31 yards of penalty yardage, and gave the Ravens the ball at the six-yard line. Flacco hit Patrick Ricard for a six-yard touchdown, extending their lead to 31-20.

Roethlisberger engineered a nice drive to start to get the Steelers back into the game, with completions to Bell, Bryant, James and Brown. But on third down at the six-yard line. Bell wasn’t able to pull in the reception in the end zone after it looked like there was contact. Boswell came on for the 24-yard field goal, to cut the Ravens lead to 31-23.

The defense forced a three-and-out on the Ravens next drive and the offense took advantage. On third-and-10 Roethlisberger hit Brown, who evaded tackles and took off for a 57-yard gain to the 10-yard line. A pass interference call gave the Steelers the ball at the one-yard line. Roethlisberger pulled one out of the playbook, tossing it to Roosevelt Nix who caught it off his chest for his first career touchdown. The Steelers had two shots at the two-point conversion after a pass interference call, but Bell was stopped short, pulling the Steelers within two at 31-29.

Michael Campanaro’s 40-yard kickoff return got the Ravens going on their next drive. The Steelers were hit with an unnecessary roughness and pass interference call on the drive, giving them 35 penalty yards. Javorius Allen capped the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run, extending the lead to 38-29.

Roethlisberger went right back to work. He completed a pass to Bell for five yards, then to Brown for 22 and 11 yards. He hit Bell for 10 yards and Rogers for nine yards. Bell took it in for an 11-yard touchdown, to cut the lead to 38-36.

The defense held on the ensuing drive, giving the offense a last shot. The Steelers took over with 2:34 to play, and Roethlisberger was sacked for a nine-yard loss. He then hit James for a six-yard gain before the two-minute warning. On third-and-13 Roethlisberger hit James for a 16-yard gain, and went right back to James for six yards. An incompletion set up a third-and-four, and Roethlisberger hit Brown for a 34-yard catch and run. Roethlisberger hit Xavier Grimble short, setting up another third down, which they didn’t convert. Boswell came on for a 46-yard field goal, and once again nailed it, putting the Steelers ahead 39-38.

AFC North Champs: This is the eighth time they have won the AFC North since the divisions were re-aligned in 2002, at which point the Steelers, Bengals, Browns and Ravens were placed in the same division.

It’s the sixth time since 2007 that the team has won the AFC North (2007, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2017).

Overall the Steelers have won their division 23 times, capturing the AFC Central (Steelers, Houston Oilers, Bengals, and Browns) 15 times.

The 23 division championships are the most by any NFL team since the 1970 merger.

This is the second consecutive year the Steelers clinched the division against the Ravens, doing so last year on Christmas Day when Antonio Brown willed his way across the goal line.

Postseason bound: This is the eighth year that Coach Mike Tomlin has led the Steelers to a playoff berth, and the fourth straight year that the Steelers are postseason bound.

Overall the Steelers are 36-25 in postseason action. Under Tomlin the Steelers are 8-6 in playoff action.

A detailed look at tonight’s scoring:

First Quarter: Steelers 7, Ravens 0
Scoring Play: Ben Roethlisberger 20-yard touchdown pass to Le’Veon Bell.
Scoring Summary: 8-59-3:25

Second Quarter: Steelers 14, Ravens 0
Scoring Play: Le’Veon Bell one-yard touchdown run.
Scoring Summary: 12-90-6:10

Second Quarter: Steelers 14, Ravens 7
Scoring Play: Joe Flacco 30-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore.
Scoring Summary: 9-78-4:04

Second Quarter: Steelers 17, Ravens 7
Scoring Play: Chris Boswell 52-yard field goal.
Scoring Summary: 9-54-4:53

Second Quarter: Steelers 17, Ravens 14
Scoring Play: Alex Collins 18-yard run.
Scoring Summary: 5-85-2:21

Second Quarter: Steelers 20, Ravens 14
Scoring Play: Chris Boswell 43-yard field goal.
Scoring Summary: 11-50-1:52

Third Quarter: Steelers 20, Ravens 17
Scoring Play: Justin Tucker 47-yard field goal.
Scoring Summary: 6-46-2:07

Third Quarter: Steelers 20, Ravens 24
Scoring Play: Javorius Allen one-yard run
Scoring Summary: 7-60-3:06

Third Quarter: Steelers 20, Ravens 31
Scoring Play: Joe Flacco six-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Ricard.
Scoring Summary: 3-74-1:13

Fourth Quarter: Steelers 23, Ravens 31
Scoring Play: Chris Boswell 24-yard field goal
Scoring Summary: 15-80-5:27

Fourth Quarter: Steelers 29, Ravens 31
Scoring Play: Ben Roethlisberger one-yard touchdown pass to Roosevelt Nix. Two-point conversion failed.
Scoring Summary: 5-67-1:14

Fourth Quarter: Steelers 29, Ravens 38
Scoring Play: Javorius Allen nine-yard touchdown run.
Scoring Summary: 6-56-2:31

Fourth Quarter: Steelers 36, Ravens 38
Scoring Play: Bell 11-yard touchdown run.
Scoring Summary: 8-68-3:15

Fourth Quarter: Steelers 39, Ravens 38
Scoring Play: Chris Boswell 46-yard field goal.
Scoring Summary: 10-55-1:43