The Pittsburgh Steelers clinched the AFC North on Sunday evening with a 31-27 victory over the division-rival Baltimore Ravens from Heinz Field.
Trailing by a field goal with 1:20 remaining in the game after a Kyle Juszczyk touchdown, the Steelers drove 75 yards in one minutes, 11 seconds to win the game with nine seconds left when Ben Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown on a four-yard slant.
Brown looked as though he was initially stopped upon catching the ball right at the goal line, but he was able to extend the football while being draped by a pair of defenders to break the plane, via the NFL:
It was the exclamation point of a monster second half in which Brown caught nine of his 10 passes on his way to a 96-yard effort.
Roethlisberger threw for 279 yards and three scores, while running back Le'Veon Bell rushed for 122 yards with two total touchdowns.
The Steelers Big Three did enough to outduel Baltimore's Joe Flacco, who passed for 262 yards and a touchdown.
His play along with Baltimore's defense, which forced two interceptions from Roethlisberger, helped build a 10-point fourth-quarter lead despite a hot start from the hosts.
Pittsburgh found paydirt on its opening possession as Roethlisberger and Bell led a 10-play, 87-yard drive that ate up 5:17.
While Bell gained 39 yards on the drive, Roethlisberger capped it off with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Grimble, via the NFL:
The play even got Washington Redskins running back Silas Redd up:
And it got ESPN's Trey Wingo in the holiday spirit:
Behind a Steve Smith 44-yard reception, the Ravens looked poised for a quick answer, but a stall inside Pittsburgh territory forced them to settle for a Justin Tucker 41-yard field goal just 1:18 after Grimble's score.
He didn't get a chance to tack on another at the beginning of the second quarter when holder Sam Koch wasn't able to wrangle in a high snap on a 45-yard field-goal attempt and fumbled it away to Pittsburgh.
But he did manage to tack on a 38-yarder with 18 seconds left in the quarter to cut it to a one-point game at 7-6 heading in to halftime.
The most accurate kicker in NFL history continued to build on his stellar career, as made field goals have become a given to CSN Ravens:
It was a waste of Baltimore opportunities, though, as all five of the Ravens' first-half drives ended in Steelers territory.
Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun was looking at the positives, though, including the Ravens stifling Pittsburgh after an opening touchdown:
The Baltimore defense came up big to give the offense prime field position to start the second quarter. On Roethlisberger's first attempt, he was picked off by linebacker Zachary Orr, who returned it down to the Steelers 20-yard line.
It was a huge play for Shawn Stepner of ABC2:
Baltimore's offense did just what Stepner wanted when Flacco hit Smith for an 18-yard score before hooking up again for a two-point conversion to go up 14-7, via the NFL:
With talks of this being Smith's last year in the NFL before retiring, Garrett Downing of the team's official website wasn't ready to believe those rumors:
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora echoed those sentiments:
Wingo, on the other hand, chose to stay in the Christmas spirit:
After the teams traded a pair of field goals, Roethlisberger threw another interception to a Ravens linebacker in the form of C.J. Mosley deep in his own territory.
Mosley managed to return the interception to Pittsburgh's 11-yard line to give the offense a short field once again, prompting NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe to give him props:
The Ravens could only muster another field goal, though, taking a 10-point lead with 14:21 left in the game.
It kept the door open for the Steelers, who finally found an answer thanks to a defensive pass interference penalty on Tavon Young that gave Pittsburgh 35 free yards down to the Baltimore 15.
Two plays later, they were in the end zone thanks to a seven-yard scoring run from Bell, much to the delight of the Steelers:
The score made it 20-17 with 11:41 to go, which was a familiar feel for NJ.com's Joe Giglio:
Pittsburgh forced a quick three-and-out on Baltimore's ensuing drive and wasted no time taking the lead with 7:16 left when Roethlisberger dumped a pass off to Bell seven yards out and let his running back do the rest of the work, via the NFL:
Former Cleveland Browns running back Earnest Byner loved the intangibles that Bell provided:
However, it was a historic touchdown toss for Roethlisberger, via Bill Phillips of WPXI:
The good vibes didn't last long, though, as Flacco drove the Ravens down into the red zone and relied on fullback Juszczyk for the go-ahead touchdown with 80 seconds remaining in the game.
Arizona Cardinals star Tyrann Mathieu loved the grit from Juszczyk:
Even Campus Insiders' Bonnie Bernstein was hyped:
Baltimore's defense couldn't find a way to stop Roethlisberger, though, as the Steelers drove inside the Ravens 25 just 30 seconds after Juszczyk's touchdown.
A completion to Jesse James put the ball on the four with 14 seconds left before his game-winner to Brown with nine seconds left.
Had he not reached out like he did, the Steelers might have run out of time considering they did not have any timeouts left.
That extension of an arm eliminated the Ravens from playoff contention, while the Steelers nabbed the No. 3 seed in the AFC postseason picture, which means that they will be hosting a Wild Card Game come January.
Things might have been looking grim for the Steelers at the start of the fourth quarter, but head coach Mike Tomlin didn't lose faith, via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com:
It's that kind of mentality that has made Tomlin beloved by his players, as linebacker Lawrence Timmons described to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Had it not been for the Roethlisberger, Brown connection in the second half, though, the Steelers might not have made it out of Sunday night with the division.
Representing half of that battery, Brown explained that he and his quarterback were on another level during that stretch, via ESPN's Jeremy Fowler:
They'll have to be just as good come playoff time if they want to advance deeper into January. As long as they're on the same page with Bell adding his versatility in the backfield, Pittsburgh will be a very tough team to face in the postseason.
Stats courtesy of ESPN.com.