(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Somehow, someway, the Steelers made the playoffs as a wildcard at 9-7-1. The Steelers had an 8% chance to make the playoffs entering Sunday, according to ESPN's FPI, and everything fell their way.
The Steelers beat the Ravens, 16-13, in overtime, the Jaguars upset the Colts, 26-11, and the Raiders beat the Chargers, 35-23, in overtime. The Steelers would have been eliminated had the Raiders tied the Chargers, but thankfully the Raiders played for the win, and Daniel Carlson nailed a 47-yard field goal.
Had Brandon Staley not called a timeout prior to the Raiders' third-and-4 play from the Chargers 39-yard line, the Raiders might have taken a knee for the tie. Instead, Josh Jacobs picked up the first down on a run
The Steelers beating the Ravens in Baltimore was probable, but the Colts losing to the 2-14 Jaguars with the playoffs on the line? Wow, I did not see that coming at all. Just a few weeks ago people were claiming the Colts as the hottest team in the league, and now they're eliminated from the playoffs. It just shows how wild of an NFL season it's been. Add the craziness that went on in Las Vegas, I've never seen a day of football like this ever. Steelers fans went through two heart-pounding overtime games.
It was a back-and-forth slugfest between the Steelers and Ravens. The Steelers' offense looked horrendous in the first two quarters, but they turned it on in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime. That's how it's been all season for the Steelers. It's nerve-racking, but they come through when it matters the most. Especially, future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Including the playoffs, Roethlisberger now ranks second in NFL history in game-winning drives with 57, according to NFL Research. He's behind just Tom Brady, who has 67.
Roethlisberger was as clutch as ever on the game-winning drive in overtime to set up Chris Boswell for the 36-yard field goal to seal it.
Roethlisberger completed a 14-yard pass to Pat Freiermuth on third-and-7 from the Steelers 31 and then followed with an 11-yard completion to Diontae Johnson on third-and-9 from the Steelers 46.
And then, the play of the game happened. On fourth-and-8 from the Ravens 41, Roethlisberger completed a 10-yard pass to Ray-Ray McCloud to put the Steelers in field goal range. Two plays later, Najee Harris ripped off a 15-yard run off the left side to set up Boswell.
“He’s been smiling in the face of adversity for 18 years,” Mike Tomlin said of Roethlisberger. “When everybody else gets a little tight, he’s the same guy.”
Roethlisberger will lead the No. 7 seed Steelers into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night against the No. 2 seed Chiefs. Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m., and the game will be broadcasted on NBC. The Chiefs blew out the Steelers, 36-10, in Week 16 at Arrowhead.
It's truly unbelievable that Tomlin has led this team to nine wins and a playoff berth. You can never count out a Tomlin-coached team.
“You guys gave up on us when we were 1-3," Tomlin said. "Man, we got a lot of warts, but we’re here.”
Indeed, they are. If Week 18 told us one thing, it's that anything can happen. I don't know if the Steelers will pull off an upset against the Chiefs, but I at least expect a fight.