When its playoff time in the NFL, there are many things the league’s fans can count on: hot teams, exciting finishes, and, of course, the Ravens-Steelers matchup.
The Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers are not only big rivals in the AFC North division regular season race, but in the playoffs as well. The two hard-hitting played once again on Saturday, meeting for the third time this season. Fans love this heated matchup that almost always promises to be a thrilling game. And this past Saturday’s game again lived up to the hype.
Coming into the game, both teams were itching to get out there. The Ravens entered on a high note after creaming the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, and the Steelers entered rested and ready to play in their first playoff game of the season. And that’s how the game began. The Ravens kept their momentum while the Steelers… well, kept resting. At halftime, the Ravens were up 21-7. They played a clean, physical, and precise half of football.
The Steelers, however, were far from out of this game. They simply dominated the entire second half. I mean, talk about the swing of the pendulum. Although the Ravens had all the momentum going into the second half, they soon gave ALL of it to the Steelers. It all started with Ravens running back Ray Rice’s fumble. From there on, the Ravens continued to fall apart. At one point, Pittsburgh had 17 unanswered points. With only minutes to play, the Steelers were riding their biggest lead of the game, 31-24. Ravens wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s fourth down drop ended the game, and the Steelers advanced to the AFC Championship game. Yet another postseason meeting between the Ravens and Steelers is in the books. The fight to the finish again went to the Steelers.
Having missed the playoffs entirely last season, the Steelers are once again on the road back to the Super Bowl. They will have a big matchup ahead of them, facing either the New York Jets. Only one game, four quarters, and 60 minutes stand between them and Super Bowl XLV. Will they make it to the franchise’s eighth Super Bowl? With their star quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, back and leading the way, they’re as dangerous as any team. But it’s the Jets offense who will have a fight on their hands if they want to break through the Steel Curtain.