The Baltimore Ravens entered the final week of the season with a chance to finish the best record in franchise history with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. At 8-7, the Steelers entered Sunday’s match up with their playoff hopes on the line, needing a win over Baltimore and a loss by the Tennessee Titans to secure the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs.
With the top seed and home-field advantage already secured, the Ravens elected to sit several key players, including QB Lamar Jackson, LT Ronnie Stanley, RG Marshal Yanda, TE Mark Andrews, FS Earl Thomas, and DT Brandon Williams. Robert Griffin III got the start at quarterback with Gus Edwards joining him in the backfield at running back.
Baltimore received the ball to start the game and wasted no time establishing the tone in the run game. Edwards was successful early on, leading the way to a 45-yard field goal by Justin Tucker to take the lead on the opening possession.
The Ravens tacked on another field goal after the defense forced a three-and-out. Edwards broke off a 38-yard run to set up Tucker for his second field goal. Pittsburgh took the lead with a touchdown on their next drive. Rookie RB Bennie Snell Jr. ran it in from four yards out.
Baltimore regained the lead with another field goal before the end of the first half. Griffin connected with TE Hayden Hurst earlier in the drive for 20 yards to extend the drive on 3rd-&-12.
The Ravens scored their first touchdown of the day with 21 seconds left in the first half after OLB Matthew Judon forced a fumble on a sack against Devlin Hodges. DT Michael Pierce recovered the ball at the 23-yard line.
Five plays later, rookie RB Justice Hill ran into the end zone to extend the lead to 16-7 going into halftime.
After going three-and-out to open the second half, the Steelers forced a fumble which led to a 26-yard field goal by Chris Boswell. OLB T.J. Watt forced the fumble against Edwards by punching the ball out and CB Joe Haden recovered it.
The Ravens extended their lead to a two-score one again with another field goal after each team took turns punting. Edwards had another long run to set up the field goal, this time for 29 yards. Tucker booted the field goal through from 47 yards out to extend the score to 19-10 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Two drives later, Baltimore effectively ended the game when Jordan Richards scored with a fumble return on a blocked punt.
The score was extended to 28-10 on Pittsburgh’s next drive when Hodges was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone. CB Brandon Carr brought the pressure on the play, forcing a safety.
Griffin III and the offense was able to drain the clock on their final possession before Griffin III was intercepted on 4th-&-6. The ball was tipped at the line and intercepted by Haden. There wasn’t enough time for the Steelers to score, however, as the game ended following a nine-yard run by Snell Jr.
The Ravens finished with the best regular-season record in franchise history at 14-2 while also breaking the single-season rushing record set by the 1978 New England Patriots. Baltimore now has two weeks before they will host a game in the divisional round of the playoffs.