As if the first 58 minutes didn’t have enough pushing, shoving, drama and huge hits, the final two minutes had plenty of its own and then some.
Twice on their final drive, the Steelers thought they had a touchdown. But after review, both Heath Miller and Le’Veon Bell were denied access to the end zone.
Miller’s knee was down before the ball crossed the goal line. Okay, that’s happened before.
But two plays later when Bell ran off left tackle, he was hit really hard by Jimmy Smith and his helmet came flying off. Though Bell crossed the goal line with possession of the ball, there’s a rule that states a play is over the instant a player’s helmet comes off.
In this instance, Bell’s helmet came off when the ball was in between the goal line and the 1-yard line.
The Steelers ended up scoring a touchdown to make the score 22-20 Ravens. However, Emmanuel Sanders dropped a pass on the two-point conversion attempt that would’ve tied the game.
There was more craziness to come.
When Pittsburgh was forced to go for an onside kick, Shaun Suisham faked to the right, then to the left, then kicked it to the right after all. The problem was that Jerricho Cotchery touched the ball before the kick went 10 yards, which is a penalty.
The Ravens declined the penalty, took possession without having to field a kickoff, Joe Flacco took a knee three times and that was the game.
Looking back, there were two particular plays that helped the Ravens. One had a major impact on the outcome and the other was close to having a major impact on the outcome.
In the 2nd quarter, Suisham started his approach too early on a 50-yard field goal attempt, which threw the whole play out of rhythm. The result was a 12-yard loss and a turnover on downs.
Suisham has made 24 of his 26 field goal attempts this year. He also made a 42-yard field goal last year in Baltimore as time expired to win the game, so it’s reasonable to expect he would’ve made the attempt.
The second strange play happened in the 3rd quarter when Jacoby Jones returned a Suisham kickoff for 73 yards along the Steelers sideline.
We’ve grown accustomed to Jones breaking loose on returns, but the strange thing here was that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wasn’t only on the restricted white strip on the sideline, he was literally on the field as Jones approached him.
Tomlin didn’t contact Jones, but it doesn’t matter. He shouldn’t have been anywhere near there. Here’s a clip that shows you exactly what happened.
After the game, John Harbaugh asked “Did they credit him with a tackle on that?”
WJZ’s Mark Viviano pointed out how Joe Flacco felt too, as Flacco playfully claimed credit for Tomlin’s maneuver. Said Flacco, “I caught flack for what I said at Super Bowl about tackling kick returner. That’s what Tomlin did. He stole my move.”
In the end, the Ravens gain a much-needed win. They also beat their rivals, which feels really good and helps in the standings.
Moreover, Baltimore now has a mini-bye week before another home games (against the 2-8-1 Vikings).
Still more good news is that multiple local media sources expect Dennis Pitta to be back for the Vikings game. Pitta has yet to play this season but was a big contributor to the team’s successful Super Bowl run last year.
All in all, it was mission accomplished for the Ravens. They now are in the 6th AFC playoff race, 1 ½ games behind the Bengals. The Ravens have already beaten the Bengals this year and will play them again in Cincinnati in Week 17.
It was a Happy Thanksgiving indeed.