RAVENS 30, STEELERS 17**
Steelers' record: 11-6
Steelers' all-time postseason record: 32-22
Series record (including playoffs): Steelers lead, 24-18
STORY OF GAME NO. 1 VS. BALTIMORE
After playing one great half and one awful half in a three-point win over the Browns in the opener, the Steelers went to Baltimore four days later and continued down the awful path. With residual issues stopping the run, the Steelers saw the Ravens finish with 157 yards rushing and a 5.0 average per attempt, and their minus-3 in turnover ratio served to cement the 26-6 defeat. The Ravens enjoyed an 11-minute edge in time of possession and were in control of the game throughout.
STORY OF GAME NO. 2 VS. BALTIMORE
Ben Roethlisberger set an NFL record by throwing six touchdown passes in a second straight game, and the Steelers avenged that 20-point loss in Baltimore with a 20-point win in Pittsburgh, 43-23. The final statistics didn't reflect the final margin of victory, but the Steelers' offensive efficiency in the red zone along with Roethlisberger's brilliance proved to be the difference. He would end up completing 25-of-37 for 340 yards, with six touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 136.3.
STORYLINE FOR GAME NO. 3**
Everything about the recent history of this series is closely contested. Just about everything, anyway. Over the last 14 regular season games of this series, the Steelers had won seven and the Ravens had won seven. Of the 16 Steelers-Ravens games played during the Tomlin-Harbaugh era, 12 have been decided by seven points or fewer, and two of the other four were this year's home-and-home where each team won one by 20 points.
What's not even are the turnovers. That's the area Coach Mike Tomlin emphasized back in September before the first meeting, and then again in early November in advance of the regular season rematch. Tomlin was delivering the same message in the days leading up to the Wild Card game.
"It's simple. If we take care of the football, we have a chance to win," said Tomlin. "I know that's something you can say in general about football. But a lot has been written and said about this matchup – over the last 14 regular season games against the Ravens, we're 7-7, but they're plus-12 in turnover ratio in those 14 games, and we're minus-12.
"If you looked at a football team over the course of a season and we were 7-7 but were minus-12 in turnover ratio, you'd say we had the makings of a good team if we take care of the ball. That's the premise I've been talking to the team about as we prepare for this game. They're 7-7. We're 7-7. But we're minus-12 in the turnover ratio. If we take care of the ball, we have a good shot tonight."
Once again in a game against the Ravens, the Steelers didn't do a particularly good job of protecting the football, and they would finish with a minus-2 turnover ratio. Ben Roethlisberger threw two interceptions, and Heath Miller lost a fumble late in the fourth quarter. The Steelers' only takeaway came when Stephon Tuitt recovered a fumble by Justin Forsett.
Even though the Steelers weren't very efficient on offense through the first half, their halftime deficit was only 10-9, but then their situation would worsen rather quickly in the third quarter. The Ravens scored 10 points in a 10-minute span of the third quarter to build their lead to 20-9 and assume control of the game.
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Terrell Suggs made an acrobatic interception of a ball that first hit Ben Tate's hands, and then on the next play Joe Flacco threw a short pass that TE Crockett Gillmore turned into a 21-yard touchdown that gave the Ravens a 30-15 lead with just under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Baltimore Ravens in the 2014 Wild Card Playoff Game at Heinz Field.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT I**
This occasion of the Steelers facing a division opponent in the playoffs marked the ninth time in franchise history they have played three games against the same team within the same season. In 1978 and 1979, the Steelers faced the Houston Oilers in the AFC Championship Game; in 1994 it was the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Divisional Round; in 2001 it was the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round; in 2002 it was the Browns in the Wild Card Round; in 2005 it was the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Round; in 2008 it was the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game; and in 2010 it was the Ravens in the Divisional Round.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT II
When he completed a 14-yard pass to Martavis Bryant with 1:57 remaining in the first half, Ben Roethlisberger passed Terry Bradshaw for the most completions in the postseason in franchise history. Terry Bradshaw had been No. 1 with 261, and that completion gave Roethlisberger 262.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT III
Going back to their loss to the Browns in Cleveland on Oct. 12 that dropped them to 3-3, the Steelers finished with a minus in turnover ratio only three times – against the New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, and the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night. They lost all three games.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT IV
Even without an injured Le'Veon Bell, the Steelers ended up with more rushing yards than the Ravens, 68-49.