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Steelers keep playoff hopes alive, edge Ravens

Jan 1, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Isaiah Likely (80) celebrates with tight end Mark Andrews (89) after scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Pickett threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Najee Harris with 56 seconds left Sunday night as the Pittsburgh Steelers kept their AFC playoff hopes alive with a 16-13 win over the host Baltimore Ravens.

Pickett hit passes of 20 yards to Pat Freiermuth and 28 yards to Steven Sims to maneuver Pittsburgh (8-8) into scoring position. Six plays later, Pickett rolled left to get away from pressure and found Harris with a deft throw against tight coverage from Roquan Smith.

Pickett finished 15 of 27 passing for 168 yards as the Steelers won for the fifth time in six games. Pittsburgh can earn a playoff berth by beating Cleveland in Week 18 and getting losses from New England and Miami.

The result might have damaged the Ravens’ chances of winning the AFC North. Baltimore (10-6) needs Buffalo to beat Cincinnati on Monday night or else the Bengals will clinch the division.

Tyler Huntley completed 14 of 21 passes for 130 yards with a touchdown, but he threw the game-sealing interception to Minkah Fitzpatrick at the Steelers’ 40 with 13 seconds remaining.

Harris rushed for 111 yards on 22 carries as Pittsburgh gashed the Ravens’ run defense for 198 yards, the most they’ve yielded this season.

Pittsburgh initiated scoring on the game’s first drive, melting 7:59 off the clock and driving to the Baltimore 2. But a third-down fade pattern from Pickett to George Pickens didn’t connect, and Chris Boswell hit the first of his three field goals, a 21-yarder.

The Ravens equalized on their first drive, eating up 7:52 and marching 61 yards before the Steelers held. Justin Tucker hit from 30 yards out 51 seconds into the second quarter.

Baltimore found the end zone seven seconds before halftime when Huntley connected with Isaiah Likely on a 7-yard touchdown pass, capping an 11-play, 62-yard drive. That came one play after an unnecessary roughness flag on Pittsburgh prevented the Ravens from settling for a field goal, enabling them to take a 10-3 lead to halftime.

–Field Level Media