The Pittsburgh Steelers battled through cold and rain in Baltimore to secure a pivotal 17-10 victory against the Ravens. The win, however, came at a cost as star outside linebacker T.J. Watt suffered a knee injury, leaving his availability for potential playoff games uncertain. Watt’s absence looms large as the Steelers now await their playoff fate, which hinges on results from other games.
Najee Harris led the Steelers’ charge with 112 rushing yards and a touchdown, showcasing the team’s commitment to a dominant running game despite challenging weather conditions. Mason Rudolph’s connection with Diontae Johnson on a 71-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter proved decisive, breaking a 7-7 tie and propelling the Steelers to a win they desperately needed.
Despite the victory, the Steelers’ playoff hopes are still in the balance. They must rely on outcomes in other games for a chance to secure a spot in the AFC playoffs. A win by the Titans over the Jaguars or a win by the Dolphins over the Bills would secure the Steelers’ playoff berth. The unlikely event of a tie between the Texans and Colts could also favor the Steelers.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged the challenges, stating, “We’ll deal with it, whatever it may be,” referring to T.J. Watt’s injury and the team’s playoff prospects.
Key Moments and Impact Players
- Najee Harris’ Milestone: Harris surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the third consecutive season, a historic achievement for a Steelers player. His consistent performance has been a bright spot for the team, especially in the final stretch of the season.
- Rudolph’s Redemption: Despite challenging weather conditions, Mason Rudolph delivered a critical 71-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson. Rudolph’s resilience in adverse conditions and his impressive completion percentage set a positive tone for the Steelers.
- Watt’s Injury Cloud: T.J. Watt’s impactful game, including two sacks and multiple tackles for loss, was marred by a late-game knee injury. The Steelers’ defensive linchpin, who recently earned the team MVP, faces an uncertain playoff status, adding a layer of complexity to the team’s postseason aspirations.
Steelers’ Playoff Hopes and Waiting Game
The Steelers’ playoff fate hangs in the balance as they now rely on external results to determine their postseason destiny. The victory over the Ravens was crucial, but the team must now anxiously await the outcomes of other key matchups to determine if they will secure a spot in the AFC playoffs.
Ravens’ Low-Stakes Finale and Looking Ahead
For the Ravens, the loss to the Steelers ended their six-game win streak but came in a game with no playoff implications for them. Resting key starters, including Lamar Jackson and other star players, the Ravens focused on avoiding significant injuries in the regular-season finale. With the AFC’s No. 1 seed secured, the Ravens now turn their attention to a two-week break before hosting a divisional playoff game.
The game’s pivotal play was Rudolph’s connection with Johnson for a 71-yard touchdown, the longest play allowed by the Ravens this season. The Ravens’ defense, known for limiting big plays, faced a challenge that ultimately impacted the outcome of the game.
As the regular season concludes, both teams face uncertainties— the Steelers in playoff hopes and Watt’s health, and the Ravens preparing for a postseason run after resting key contributors.