Steelers Defeat Baltimore to Advance to AFC Title Game

Steelers Nation is celebrating tonight as the Pittsburgh Steelers came all the way back from a 21-7 halftime deficit to win in thrilling fashion, 31-24 and punched a ticket to the AFC Championship game next Sunday either in Foxboro against the New England Patriots or at Heinz Field against the New York Jets.

Tale of Two Quarterbacks

The Steelers enjoyed a big edge at quarterback and that advantage was never more evident in the second half. Joe Flacco, in two consecutive drives toward the end of the third quarter with the Steelers trailing 21-14, Flacco committed two turnovers that changed the course of the game. He floated a pass high for tight end Todd Heap that Ryan Clark picked-off. Pittsburgh was stopped on that possession and, the very next drive, Flacco fumbled the snap, the Steelers recovered, and scored to tie the game.

Ben Roethlisberger, harassed continuously and sacked six times, made the plays when it counted. First, with his team trailing 21-14 and facing a third and goal from the eight, the Steelers spread the Ravens out and Ben hit veteran Hines Ward for the tying touchdown. He showed poise in the pocket under duress and hit a dart near the goal line to Ward. Then, with the game on the line, he made the biggest play of the season. The Steelers got the ball back with 3:54 seconds to play, scored tied 24-24, Roethlisberger made his first big play with a third and 10 at his own 35 and hit Ward again for 12 yards and a first down. The Steelers got pressure again on Roethlisberger on the subsequent first down and he was sacked. Facing yet another third down, 3rd and 19, Ben stepped back and fired an absolute bullet fifty yards down the field, finding an open Antonio Brown. Brown ran under the ball and had a 58-yard gain.

Notch another win for Pittsburgh

The Steelers’ defense was amazing, forcing three turnovers in the third quarter alone, and held the Ravens to a total of 126 yards. Flacco finished with 125 yards passing, an interception and a fumble and Ray Rice was held to just 32 yards rushing.

Now the Steelers await the winner of the Jets-Patriots and, for tonight, the Steelers Nation celebrates.

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