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Whatever it takes

Posted Dec 11, 2017

Bell: 'We can win a shootout against anybody.'

They wound up having to win a shootout against the Ravens minus injured linebacker Ryan Shazier.

That’s something the Steelers maintained they’d be capable of doing again the rest of the way as necessary.

“Man, we can win a shootout against anybody,” running back Le’Veon Bell insisted after the AFC North Division championship had been won via Sunday night’s remarkable, 39-38 victory over Baltimore. “I feel like our offense, we have a lot of play-makers. We have probably the best player in the league in ‘A.B.’ (wide receiver Antonio Brown) making plays on the outside, (quarterback) Ben (Roethlisberger) throwing the ball to him, the offensive line doing what they do up front. You know, I make my plays, spring my plays here and there.

“I feel like we can score points whenever we need to. We ended up scoring 39 (on Sunday night) and not really playing our best football. I think we can win a shootout against anybody.”

Guard Ramon Foster said the offense is all-in regarding the embracing of that responsibility if it comes to that.

“Absolutely,” he maintained. “As much as defenses win it, when it’s time for us to be able to score we have to be able to score. Our offense is getting it done like that somehow.

“That’s just the way it is right now.”

COMPARING RESUMES: The Ravens arrived at Heinz Field with the NFL’s No. 7 defense and leading the league with 29 takeaways.

The Ravens have had a pretty good year defensively, but Roethlisberger and the Steelers weren’t overly impressed.

“So have ‘A.B.’ and I had a pretty good year, too,” Roethlisberger said. “I just trust and believe in him. Our chemistry together is something pretty special.

“Some people out there say I abandon my reads and go right to ‘A.B.’ It’s not always true but sometimes, who wouldn’t?”

The Steelers put up 545 total net yards and didn’t turn the ball over against a Baltimore defense that had been allowing an average of 311.3 yards per game.

Roethlisberger targeted Brown 18 times and Brown responded with 11 catches for 213 yards, including a 34-yard reception to the Baltimore 30-yard line that set up Chris Boswell’s game-winning field goal.

“Ben’s a Hall-of-Fame quarterback,” Brown said. “There’s nothing he can’t see on a football field. He’s been doing it a long time.

“He’s a general, he’s a warrior, he’s a leader and I’m glad I got to play with him for a lot of years.”  

HEAVY METTLE: The Steelers’ defense allowed 152 yards rushing and 413 total net yards. But the defense was still able to come up with a three-and-out after the Steelers had closed to within  38-36 with 3:29 left in the fourth quarter and then close the game out by holding Baltimore at bay for the final 42 seconds of regulation.

“They played 60 minutes,” head coach Mike Tomlin observed. “I appreciate the efforts at the end and I like that, regardless of circumstance. You know, it was one of those back-and-forth, shootout-type of games. They made the necessary plays down the stretch.

“You can get beat down mentally giving things up, yards, points and stuff throughout. I just really think it speaks to the mettle of the group and they’re to be congratulated for that. Yes, we have things we need to improve on and adjustments we need to continue to make as we work through life without No. 50 (Shazier). But boy, to raise up and make those necessary stops down the stretch, that three-and-out maybe two or three possessions before the end was huge.

“Largely, it’s a no-blink attitude of the group regardless of circumstance, and for that I’m proud of those guys.”

ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP: The Steelers have been overcoming potential distraction and/or adversity seemingly all season.

There’s a reason for that according to safety Mike Mitchell.

“That’s just the character of our head man,” Mitchell said. “‘Coach T,’ Mr. Rooney (Steelers president Art II), we just follow his leadership. ‘Coach T’ is really like a father figure to me. I mean, ‘Shay’ (Shazier) was a big reason (Sunday night), but I’m always playing super hard for ‘Coach T.’ I literally never want to let him down.

“Our attitude reflects our leadership. We have great leadership at the top. If you look at coach, how he communicates to me whether they just threw a 60-yard bomb on us or pounded us for a 100-yard drive, he is the same even keel. He never gets too high, never gets too low, just always gives me that real fatherly communication no matter if I like it or not. We just follow his leadership and his personality is that way, so that’s how we stay calm. If he doesn’t panic we won’t panic.

“He’s the man.”

HE SAID IT: “We love our brother and we wanted to get this one for him and I’m glad we did.” _ Roethlisberger on beating the Ravens and winning the division for Shazier.