BALTIMORE – The mathematics of 5-7 is as daunting as 22-20 had been frustrating.
"We gotta win out," wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery announced after the Steelers had fallen to 5-7 via a 22-20 loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving night at M&T Bank Stadium. "Hopefully, every guy knows that. I'm pretty sure they are aware of it."
The Steelers have games remaining against Miami (Dec. 8), Cincinnati (Dec. 15), at Green Bay (Dec. 22) and Cleveland (Dec. 29).
A 4-0 run to close the regular season would leave them at 9-7 overall, 4-2 in the AFC North Division and 7-5 in the AFC.
"It's not over," safety Ryan Clark assessed. "We kind of felt like we had to run the table to give ourselves an opportunity, so now this sets us back a bit. We have to continue to try to win football games, continue to play and the chips will fall where they fall in the end. But for us it's the same mode of operation, come back, study the film, try to get better, try to win a game next week."
Added quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, "I don't expect any quit. We haven't quit to this point. I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to fight my butt off all the way to the end."
Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders took the blame for failing to catch Roethlisberger's pass on the two-point conversion attempt that followed the fourth-quarter touchdown that drew the Steelers to within 22-20.
"It's my fault we lost," Sanders said. "It's something I gotta deal with, but at the end of the day I'm not gonna let it hold me down.
"'Redemption Sunday' is coming up."
Running back Le'Veon Bell became the third Steelers rookie dating back to 1960 to register at least 90 yards from scrimmage in at least five games in a season. Bell had 73 yards rushing, including a career-long 43-yard burst (the longest run against the Ravens this season) and a career-high seven catches for 63 yards.
Franco Harris had eight games with 90-plus yards from scrimmage as a rookie in 1972.
Bam Morris did it five times in 1994.
Bell's fifth rushing touchdown of the season tied Morris and Joe Womack (1962) for the second-most by a Steelers rookie in the team's first 12 games of a season, behind Harris' nine.
Bell's 136 yards from scrimmage trailed only the 139 he accounted for on Nov. 3 at New England.
Bell's two-game totals against Baltimore this season included 166 yards on 35 carries (4.7 yards per carry).
Ben Roethlisberger's two touchdown passes ran his career regular-season total to 212, matching Terry Bradshaw for the most in franchise history.
With 21 touchdown passes this season Roethlisberger became the first QB in franchise history to throw for at least 20 in the regular season five times (32 in 2007, 26 in 2009, 21 in 2011, and 26 in 2012).
Left outside linebacker Jason Worilds' two sacks pushed his season total to a career-high and team-leading six. Worilds had a team-leading 10 tackles, one tackle for a loss, three quarterback hits and a forced fumble.
Ravens right offensive tackle Michael Oher was called for three of Baltimore's five false starts.
NOT ACCORDING TO PLAN
Kicker Shaun Suisham on why he approached the ball early on what became an aborted 50-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter: "The timing was off and we didn't convert. I certainly have an explanation but I'd prefer not to go into detail with it. Our timing was just off there. We'd like to have that one back, for sure."
And Suisham on the failed onside-kick attempt that followed the Steelers' failed two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter: "Sometimes that football, you don't get the bounce you're hoping for, and that's one of those times. Certainly, our play on special teams was a factor today in the outcome of the game. Certainly, that's where we can contribute. You'd rather be helping the team."
The Steelers had cornerback Antwon Blake, linebacker Terrence Garvin, safety Will Allen, fullback Will Johnson and wide receiver Marcus Wheaton lined up to Suisham's right (as viewed from behind the formation) on what became a 73-yard kickoff return by Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones in the third quarter. A Baltimore field goal for a 16-7 lead resulted.
"They doubled me, pushed out the No. 1 and the No. 2 and kicked in the No. 4 and the No. 5 and ran it right outside and he was gone," said Allen, the No. 3R (right) on the coverage alignment. "They executed well today."
TOUGH TO TAKE
A sampling of reactions from the visitor's locker room in the immediate aftermath of Ravens 22, Steelers 20:
Cotchery: "It's a tough loss. We'll go back to work but this definitely stings."
Roethlisberger: "It's incredibly frustrating because you got so close."
Guard David DeCastro: "It's a tough one to swallow. We just didn't do enough."