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After Further Review: By any means necessary

They were "open to change," Mike Tomlin had declared, after the debacle in Cincinnati, and whether by necessity or inspiration-slash-desperation, things changed against the Ravens.

The Steelers tried Montravius Adams at nose tackle.

They tried Ahkello Witherspoon at cornerback.

They tried the three-outside-linebackers-on-the-field-at-the-same-time approach again.

They tried cornerback Justin Layne in the six-defensive backs "dime" defense.

They tried safety Miles Killebrew replacing Witherspoon in the secondary.

That was all during Baltimore's first possession.

That one ended up lasting 6:23 and gaining 75 yards, including 10 the Ravens had to gain twice because of penalties.

But it ended with a Minkah Fitzpatrick interception in the end zone.

And so it went on Sunday in the latest installment of a classic rivalry.

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 13 game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field

The Steelers managed seven first downs and 144 total net yards through three quarters, and yet somehow, some way they were still in the game.

On the other side of the ball it was John Leglue _who?_ filling in almost immediately for B.J. Finney, who had been filling in for J.C. Hassenauer, who had been filling in for Kevin Dotson at left guard.

It was Benny Snell getting a couple of critical carries with less than four minutes left in regulation and making the most of them on what became the drive for the touchdown and the two-point conversion that won the game.

It was Zach Gentry converting a third-and-2 with a 5-yard reception on the very same drive.

This wasn't all Fitzpatrick, Diontae Johnson, Cam Heyward, T.J. Watt and Ben Roethlisberger.

No wonder the QB was referencing will as well as skill in the aftermath of 20-19.

"You can go against teams sometimes that are better than you or equal to you in terms of skill," Roethlisberger told the media he'd told the team. "What's gonna separate you is your heart.

"We had guys who showed a lot of heart."

That as much as anything else helped the Steelers survive the Ravens.

But what did they accomplish in the process?

Was it the turning point they've been seeking?

Or, did they merely delay what's been inevitable ever since the 0-2-1 slide comprised by a tie against the then-winless Lions, a come-from-behind/come-from-ahead loss to the Chargers and the blowout against the Bengals that ultimately inspired some of the change that solved Baltimore?

"We'll see," Roethlisberger said. "I'd like to think it will help to say, 'OK, this is what we can do. This is what we need to do.'

"But you never really know."

What they showed Sunday, among other things, was maturity.

That characteristic was probably best exemplified by Johnson, who dropped a touchdown pass in the second quarter, then caught two in the second half.

"Last year I don't know what I would have done in that situation, probably folded," Johnson said.

The Steelers also proved they're capable of rushing the passer with discipline and structure as well as aggression.

"Our rush lanes were the biggest thing," Chris Wormley maintained. "Keeping an edge with T.J. and Alex (Highsmith) and then Cam and I and the other guys pushing the pocket.

"For the most part we contained him."

They not only contained Lamar Jackson, the most elusive quarterback on the planet, they amassed seven sacks.

They also ran the ball even when they weren't running it effectively because they were determined to keep running the ball.

"We wanted to stay committed to the run although they were doing a good job of stopping it," Tomlin confirmed.

There' value in that, potentially, as well.

Not that the Steelers should count on replicating any of it just because in Minnesota.

"Last week was last week," Tomlin said. "This week was this week. Next week will be next week."

That there will be a "next week" with relevance attached (Thursday night, actually, but you get the point) was reward enough for beating the Ravens.

There's still a long road to navigate.

The Steelers remain committed to getting there, no matter the path.

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