Steelers – Ravens, Saturday 8:15 p.m. (NBC)
It’s Ravens Week! The Pittsburgh Steelers clinched the AFC North and the No. 3 seed in the AFC Playoffs with a 27-17 over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night.
The Steelers will host the Ravens Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. in the wildcard round.
Antonio Brown capped off one of the greatest seasons for a wide receiver with a 63 yard catch and run touchdown with 2:50 left in the 4th quarter to secure the AFC North Title and put the Steelers ahead 27-17. Brown in the first quarter also had a 71 yard punt return touchdown and finishes the regular season with 129 receptions (2nd most in NFL history), 1,698 receiving yards (6th most in NFL history) and 13 touchdowns.
Brown had 212 all-purpose yards in the win, while the Steelers defense forced three turnovers, including two interceptions from Brice McCain.
However, the win came at a cost as the Steelers lost Le’Veon Bell to a knee injury in the second half on a low legal hit from Bengals safety Reggie Nelson.
Bell has been diagnosed with a hyper-extended knee. “Got a hyper-extension on Le’Veon Bell’s knee,” Mike Tomlin said. “Structurally it appears to be fine.”
After the game, Tomlin and Nelson were jawing at mid-field but Tomlin said afterwards the two having words wasn’t about the hit but something Nelson said (not related to the hit). Tomlin called the hit “legal” and says he has a lot of respect for Nelson.
Following the release of LeGarrette Blount, the Steelers failed to adequately replace Blount and if Bell can’t go vs Ravens, the Steelers are going to have to roll the dice with Josh Harris as Dri Archer is too much of a liability in pass blocking situations to see any significant playing time, especially against the Ravens front-seven.
Ben Roethlisberger played throughout the game with the flu and was unable to take pre-game warmups. Roethlisberger was 24/38 for 317 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interceptions. Roethlisberger and Drew Brees finished in a tie for first in the NFL in passing yards with 4,952.