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After Further Review: 'That's a Coach Tomlin-led football team'

BALTIMORE - After further review …

It wasn't Terrell Suggs or Haloti Ngata assaulting Ben Roethlisberger but you'd never have known it the way Kyle Hamilton drilled Kenny Pickett.

The way Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren had to continually blast and battle at the end of runs, and often at the beginning of runs.

The way the defense had to repeatedly find a way to stand up to 305-pound blocking machine Patrick Ricard.

The way it came down to the final minute, again, and was decided by a winning margin of three or fewer points for the 18th time in the last 30 meetings, including for the second time this season.

The names have changed.

Steelers-Ravens hasn't.

The Steelers haven't, either.

"That's a Coach Tomlin-led football team," T.J. Watt announced after the Steelers had turned a 13-3, third-quarter deficit into a come-from-behind, 16-13 triumph that delivered them into the regular season's final weekend still in contention to extend the regular season into the postseason.

"Resiliency, just never giving up," Watt continued. "Nothing needed to be said. We knew we needed to play better at the half, just needed to make more plays, especially as a defense."

The same could have been said of the offense.

Both units delivered when they absolutely had to amid the most dire of circumstances, adding a chapter to Steelers-Ravens lore in addition to keeping playoff hopes alive for another week.

"How about Kenny Pickett leading that offense down, Najee (Harris) making a play and giving us a chance to close the game out?" Watt added. "Super proud of this locker room but, obviously, there's still work to be done."

Sunday night's rematch with the Ravens mirrored the season.

There were mistakes, misplays and, at times, frustration.

Injuries had to be worked around.

Things didn't go as initially planned and it became a desperate struggle.

The Steelers had to rally individually and collectively.

They had to extricate themselves from a hole that at times appeared inescapable.

There remains work yet to be done, as Watt acknowledged.

But of all the variables that still stand between the Steelers and qualification for the playoffs, the willingness to put the work in and attack the task in front of them is the least of their concerns.

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 17 game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium

"We're a really young team, but at the same time we also have some really good leaders that are veterans that are taking the young guys in," Watt maintained. "We have really good practices. We practiced in pads on Friday, nobody complained about it. We just got down to work and all that is just paying off. We're not surprised by anything we see because we see it every week in practice."

That's not yet made them perfect.

But it's allowed a team that was 2-6 on Oct. 30 and 3-7 on Nov. 20 to hit January with a sense of belief after winning five of six, including three straight for the first time all season to get back to .500 at 8-8.

To make a statement regarding who they are.

"We're a close-knit team," Watt insisted. "I said it back in Latrobe, we want to play for each other. We know what we're capable of. We knew we weren't a 2-6 football team. We knew we needed to correct it.

"We're not satisfied but we're in a good spot."

Happy New Year.

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