Steelers vs. Ravens: Top Players from Thursday Night's Slugfest

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Steelers vs. Ravens: Top Players from Thursday Night's Slugfest
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers almost always seem to play in incredibly close games when going head-to-head.  Thanksgiving night was certainly no exception as it was an incredibly exciting matchup with some star players standing out.

After stopping the Steelers on a two-point conversion attempt, the Ravens went on to win 22-20 in what was an incredible game.  The Steelers almost came back after starting the game down 13-0, but they couldn't pull off the comeback.

With a game like this, a number of players stepped up, so let's take a closer look at the players of the game from Thursday night.

 

Baltimore Ravens

Justin Tucker, K

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Yes, you read that right.  A kicker was one of the most important players in this game.

Justin Tucker was great all night, making all five of his field-goal attempts.  In fact, he was so good that the Sunday Night Football team named him the John Madden Player of the Game along with Jacoby Jones.

It's been a great season for Tucker, who has now made 29 of his 31 field goal attempts.  The last time he missed a field goal was in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, and he has now made 27 straight attempts.

Right now, there's not a hotter kicker in football, and Tucker was a big reason for the win.

 

Torrey Smith, WR

It's been a very respectable season for Torrey Smith, and he had one of his best games of the season when it mattered most.

Smith got off to a hot start, catching a 54-yard bomb from Joe Flacco.  Just a couple of plays later, he got the touchdown.  He finished with six receptions for 93 yards and that score, and he helped his team get things going offensively early in the game.

Heading into Thursday, Smith had 48 receptions for 859 yards and three scores.  According to Brent Harris from CSN, he broke his career high for receptions, which was previously 50 during his rookie campaign in 2011.

With a few games remaining this season, Smith is on pace to have yet another terrific season in just his third year in the league.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Le'Veon Bell, RB

He may only be a rookie, but Le'Veon Bell is quickly becoming one of the most explosive players on offense for the Steelers.

Bell had a number of huge plays in this game for the Steelers.  He finished with 73 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries, while adding another 63 yards on seven receptions.

It wasn't all good for Bell, however, as he suffered a very scary hit near the end of the game and had to be helped off the field.  As you can see from the video below, it was certainly a scary moment as it happened.

Bell had already put up 711 total yards and four scores entering this game, and that's after missing the first three games of the season.  Assuming he's able to get healthy, there's a chance that Bell could make a run for the Rookie of the Year award.

 

Ben Roethlisberger, QB

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Steelers wouldn't be where they are right now if it weren't for Ben Roethlisberger.  Even though he had a very solid game, he still couldn't help his team pull out the win.

Roethlisberger completed 28 of his 44 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns, posting a 94.6 passer rating.  He made some big throws, including a last-minute touchdown to Jerricho Cotchery to put the Steelers within two points.  He also had a great throw on the two-point conversion, but Emmanuel Sanders was unable to reel in the pass.

Still, the Steelers are 3-1 over their last four games, and Roethlisberger has been red-hot.  He's now thrown for 1,045 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception over these past four games, and he's certainly feeling it right now.

Big Ben will need to continue making big plays in order for the Steelers to make a playoff push.  This loss certainly hurts their chances, but they're still alive.  None of their last four games are impossible, but games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers could certainly be difficult ones, especially if Roethlisberger struggles.

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