Hold Down The North: The Steelers won the AFC North with the win over the Ravens, the seventh time they have won the AFC North since the divisions were re-aligned in 2002, at which point the Steelers, Bengals, Browns and Ravens were placed in the same division. It's the fifth time since 2007 that the team has won the AFC North (2007, 2008, 2010, 2014, and 2016). Overall the Steelers have won their division 22 times, capturing the AFC Central (Steelers, Houston Oilers, Bengals, and Browns) 15 times. The 22 division championships are the most by any NFL team since the 1970 merger.
"Man, it's great to be AFC North Champs," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We tip our cap to the Ravens, they're a tough, tough opponent, not only today, but always. Because our goals are very similar. I like the mentality that the guys showed. We knew it was going to be a tough football game. It always is. We've been in games like this (during) this season, we've persevered in some and not in others. But we've grown from all of our experiences. And it was just great to see the no-blink mentality, the competitive spirit, tonight. We helped one another. We were turning the ball over, the defense kept us in it there at the early portions of the second half. And then, we gave a drive up late and the offense responded. And that's just good team ball.
"All of the men are to be congratulated. We had some guys who hadn't played NFL football, and tonight was their first game. Guys like Demarcus Ayers and (Johnny) Maxey on the defensive line due to unavailability of the others, due to injury. I tip my cap to those guys. It's tough enough playing your first NFL game, but to step into an environment like that and be positive contributors, and both of those guys were, and I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that. So hopefully, something to learn, I'm sure. We'll evaluate it like we always do, but today we just want to enjoy this victory. It's significant, obviously. We punched our ticket. And that's an awesome thing."
The Steelers win over the Ravens also secured the No. 3 seed in the playoffs for the Steelers and a home game.
Killer B's: When the big guns were needed, they came though. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are among the playmakers for the Steelers offense and on the final, pivotal, playoffs on the line drive, they came through.
The Steelers were down 27-24, with just 1:18 to play, after the Ravens scored a go-ahead touchdown. Roethlisberger, starting at his own 25-yard line, completed eight of eight passes, and spiked the ball twice, as he drove the offense down the field with incredible precision, completing passes to five different receivers.
But the play of the game, and possibly of the season, was a four-yard pass to Brown where he wouldn't be denied getting into the end zone for the 31-27 win. And fittingly enough, it was the 50th touchdown the two combined for, the most ever by a quarterback-receiver combination in Steelers' history.
"No one stopped believing," said Roethlisberger. "It's pretty special the way we won it. Especially after feeling the way I felt at a certain point in that game and feeling like you let guys down and you blew it. So to come back and win it is pretty special." Bell keeps ringing: The last time the Steelers and Ravens met Le'Veon Bell rushed for 32 yards. The Steelers' offense knew they would have to get the ground game going to come away victorious this week, and they did. Bell rushed for 122 yards on 20 carries, a 6.1 average, and a seven-yard touchdown. He added three receptions for 15 yards and a seven-yard touchdown.
"We knew the Ravens were going to be a challenge," said Bell. "Those guys have been playing well all year. They really had our number the last couple of times we played them. So we knew it was going to be a challenge. I'm glad we overcame it, got the game-winning touchdown and got the win."