Steelers top Ravens, will make playoffs if Bills or Jaguars lose
They still need a little help to get in, but they've certainly done their part down the stretch.
“Let us be dangerous,” said Heyward, the Pittsburgh defensive tackle. “We have a formula that’s working right now. Hopefully we can get some guys back in the fold. We’re not going to discount ourselves. We know we’ve got work to do, and looking forward to it.”
Mason Rudolph threw a 71-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson on the first play of the fourth quarter, and the Steelers took a step toward the postseason with a 17-10 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday.
Rudolph led Pittsburgh (10-7) to three straight wins to close the season, and now the Steelers wait. They would make the playoffs Sunday if Buffalo loses to Miami, or Jacksonville loses to Tennessee.
There was some bad news for the Steelers amid all that hope. T.J. Watt — who had two sacks to take sole possession of the NFL lead with 19 — left in the third quarter with a knee injury. Coach Mike Tomlin didn't have an update on Watt's status after the game.
The Ravens (13-4) already had the top seed in the AFC locked up, and they held MVP favorite Lamar Jackson out of this game, along with a handful of other key players. Tyler Huntley started at quarterback, and both teams had a hard time moving the ball on a rainy, windy day.
“We had a chance to send them home, now they have a chance to go to the playoffs,” Baltimore linebacker Patrick Queen said. “It stings a little bit ... but we have a lot of pages in our book that set us up pretty good. Nobody’s hanging their head or anything. If we see those guys again, we’ll be ready.”
With the score tied at 7, Rudolph found Johnson over the middle for the one big play Pittsburgh needed. After Baltimore's Gus Edwards lost a fumble, the Steelers kicked a field goal with 3:13 remaining. The Ravens hadn't trailed by more than seven points all season until then.
Justin Tucker kicked a field goal with 16 seconds left, but Baltimore couldn't come up with the ensuing onside kick. The Ravens had a six-game winning streak snapped.
Rudolph was 18 of 20 for 152 yards.
“It was probably the most challenging weather I've had to deal with in my career,” Rudolph said.
Each team lost two fumbles.
Pittsburgh opened the scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run by Najee Harris in the first quarter. The Ravens didn't manage a first down until the second, but they eventually tied it on a 27-yard scoring pass from Huntley to Isaiah Likely.
The Steelers have won seven of the last eight meetings with Baltimore, all of which were decided by seven points or fewer. Pittsburgh's four consecutive wins at M&T Bank Stadium are the most by a visiting team since the Steelers themselves won five straight from 1998-2002.
Tomlin said he wasn't sure what his plans were for Sunday, as far as tuning in to other games.
“I hadn't thought about it,” he said. “We were more concerned about the variables that we had control over. Those other ones are less important. We did what we needed to do this weekend.”
Harris rushed for 112 yards to finish the season with 1,035. He's the first player in Steelers history to reach 1,000 yards rushing in each of his first three NFL seasons.
In addition to Jackson, receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers, safety Kyle Hamilton, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and guard Kevin Zeitler were among the big names on the inactive list for the Ravens. Star linebacker Roquan Smith was active but did not play.
“We didn't really care about who was out there or how long they were going to play,” Harris said. “We wanted to play so physical that if they did play their ones, their guys, we wanted (Baltimore coach John) Harbaugh to say, ‘We’ve got to get them out of there,' because of how physical we were playing.”
Steelers: Their postseason fate is in other teams' hands now.
Ravens: Baltimore will have a first-round bye before hosting its playoff opener.
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