Steelers wrap up AFC North title, arrange showdown with Pats

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Printed three:01 a.m. ET Dec. 11, 2017

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger’s record-setting day completed with a carry simply as helpful as any of the franchise-record 66 passes he threw.

Because the Pittsburgh Steelers poured onto the Heinz Area turf to have a good time a frantic 39-38 victory over Baltimore that wrapped up their third AFC North title in 4 years, Roethlisberger grabbed the acquainted No. 50 jersey of injured linebacker Ryan Shazier and joined within the celebration.

An emotionally draining week for the Steelers ended with Shazier recovering from spinal surgical procedure in a close-by hospital however nonetheless very a lot in the course of issues. Identical to all the time.

“We love our brother,” Roethlisberger stated. “We wished to get this one for him, and I am glad we did.”


The Steelers (11-2) blew an early 14-point lead and located themselves trailing by 11 going into the fourth earlier than exploding for 19 factors over the ultimate 15 minutes, the final three approaching Chris Boswell’s 46-yard area aim with 42 seconds left.

“I feel championship groups discover methods to win,” Roethlisberger stated.

Having an offense that’s beginning to peak after a sleepy begin definitely helps. Roethlisberger threw for 506 yards and two scores to change into the primary participant in NFL historical past to go over 500 yards passing thrice in his profession. Antonio Brown caught 11 passes for 213 yards to gas an MVP candidacy that now not feels so far-fetched, together with features of 57 and 34 yards within the fourth to spark Pittsburgh’s comeback and operating again Le’Veon Bell completed with 125 complete yards and three scores.

“It is an incredible feeling, particularly for Ryan Shazier,” Brown stated. “One in all our brothers could not be out right here right this moment. Clearly, he’s watching.”

Shazier suffered his damage within the first quarter of a victory over Cincinnati final Monday. He underwent surgical procedure on Wednesday and Roethlisberger visited him on Thursday.

“Once you stroll in and see him and see the smile and provides him an enormous, it actually has taken that weight off and allow us to breathe a bit of simpler,” Roethlisberger stated.

The Steelers have achieved their finest to let Shazier know may be very a lot part of their run. Linebacker James Harrison borrowed a web page from Shazier’s pregame routine and warmed up shirtless even with the temperature hovering round freezing. Shazier’s helmet and jersey spent the sport on the bench and a number of other Steelers wore cleats with a particular design that includes Shazier’s face and the favored #Shalieve hashtag.

“It was very emotional,” linebacker Arthur Moats stated. “Any time you may carry one thing to him that brings him some sort of pleasure, some sort of happiness, that is good. On the finish of the day we’re simply attempting to verify he is good.”


Baltimore (7-6) in the meantime, noticed its surge again to competition blunted after its protection spent the fourth quarter fruitlessly chasing Brown from one aspect of the sector to the opposite.

“That is going to sting for some time,” Ravens security Eric Weddle stated. “Particularly the blokes on protection as a result of we care a lot and we maintain ourselves to a excessive customary.”

The Ravens definitely did not meet it after giving up 545 yards to the Steelers. Pittsburgh scored on its final 4 possessions. It is not just like the Steelers had been benefiting from a brief area. All eight of their scoring drives went not less than 50 yards, together with two of 80 or extra.

“I feel within the fourth quarter the protection dropped the ball tonight,” linebacker Terrell Suggs stated. “That is type of been our factor all 12 months, consistency.”


The win units up the AFC sport of the 12 months subsequent Sunday when Tom Brady and the defending Tremendous Bowl champion New England Patriots go to. New England beat the Steelers twice final season, together with a lopsided 36-17 blowout within the AFC title sport.

“We’ll give respect the place respect is due now,” Pittsburgh middle Maurkice Pouncey stated. “However they are not Superman. They misplaced this season, proper?”


Brown, Bell and Roethlisberger hardly did it alone. Boswell has hit 4 game-winning area objectives within the remaining minute in 4 of Pittsburgh’s previous 5 video games. Tight ends Jessie James and Vance McDonald mixed for 14 receptions for 149 yards. Even fullback Roosevelt Nix bought in on the act, scoring his first profession landing on a 1-yard reception wherein he mainly pulled the ball off Baltimore security Tony Jefferson’s chest as they tussled in the long run zone.

“AB is gonna do what he do, I’ll do what I do, Ben’s gonna do what he do,” Bell stated. “But it surely’s the blokes who do not get the credit score all the time which can be those making the performs.”


Baltimore: Must win out if it desires to achieve the postseason. The excellent news? Their remaining three opponents are a mixed Eight-34, together with the Zero-13 Cleveland Browns, who the Ravens go to subsequent Sunday.

Pittsburgh: The Steelers have crushed Brady at Heinz Area simply as soon as in his profession, a victory within the 2011 common season.


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