For a while, it appeared that the Ravens would run away with the rubber match at Heinz Field. For a while, it appeared that the Steelers would erase a 14-point deficit and win by 14 or more.
For a while, it appeared that we’d see the first overtime game played under the new postseason overtime rules.
But then Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, harassed all day and facing third down and 19, connected on a 58-yard pass to receiver Antonio Brown, who somehow got behind a dime-plus defensive alignment and finished the play by pinning the ball against his helmet, David Tyree style.
Rashard Mendenhall finished the drive five plays later, with a stop-and-start effort on third and goal.
The Ravens received hope, via a 15-yard penalty from guard Chris Kemoeatu’s late hit after the touchdown. But the Ravens couldn’t move the ball (and T.J. Houshmandzadeh couldn’t catch it on fourth down), and the Steelers stopped them on downs before running out the clock.
Final score? A very un-Ravens-Steelers-like 31-24.
The loss drops the Ravens to a still-respectable 4-3 on the road in the playoffs since 2008, but quarterback Joe Flacco is now 0-6 against the Steelers when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger plays.
Pittsburgh now awaits the winner of the Jets-Patriots game. If New York wins, the Steelers host the AFC championship. If New England wins, Pittsburgh heads to Foxboro.