Series-High 77th Point Lifts Steelers Over Ravens for 27th Time To Win AFC North

Never in the history of the rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens have more points been scored in a single game than last night’s division-clinching victory for the former, the home team, who just barely edged out their biggest rival by a margin 39 points to 38.

That should not come as too much of a shock, as, for the bulk of their time together in the league—the Ravens beginning as a franchise in 1996—the defining trait of both organizations has been their defense. In 49 games all-time, the Steelers have been held to 20 points or fewer 27 times, and the Ravens have been limited to that same mark 28 times. 16 times, both have scored 20 points or fewer in the same game.

But while 38 may be a series-high score for the Ravens, the Steelers have topped the 39 points that they scored twice before. Their peak was a 43-23 blowout in 2014, during which Ben Roethlisberger threw six touchdown passes.

But they also scored 42 points all the way back in 1997, in just the third Steelers-Ravens game ever, in a game in which the Ravens scored 34. The 76 total points scored in that game stood as the series-high for over two decades until last night, when Chris Boswell’s last-minute kick to put Pittsburgh ahead 39-38 brought the combined score up to 77.

The Steelers won their 24th game in the regular season against the Ravens with that 77th point, to 20 losses, and have now won three in a row after losing four in a row, including a game in the postseason, to Baltimore.

As I talked about yesterday before the game, this was also an opportunity for them to claim their first series sweep of their arch rival in nearly a decade, a feat that they last accomplished during the Super Bowl season of 2008. That year, they beat the Ravens three times, including in the AFC Championship game to advance to Super Bowl XLIII.

The two wins vault the Steelers up to 11-2 on the season, setting up a pivotal showdown next week with the New England Patriots in a game that could determine who hosts the AFC Championship game. Meanwhile, the second loss to Pittsburgh finds the Ravens clinging to the sixth seed at 7-6.

Imagine if the series had gone the other way, though. If the Ravens had beaten the Steelers twice this year, both teams would be sitting at 9-4 right now, with Baltimore owning the tie-breaker, and in position for the third seed in the AFC.

That is the importance of dominating your division, which the Steelers have done this year. They are currently 5-0 against the AFC North, with only a season finale hosting the Browns left to attend to, and Cleveland has not won a game yet this year. 38 percent of your schedule is in your own division. You’d better own it.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Mister Wirez

    Imagine if we beat the Bears?

  • CP72

    Listen it was a great win, but no one can be happy with that defensive performance.

    Shazier is a great player. He was surely missed, but our front seven still had 3 first round picks plus a second and third round pick in that group. All those high draft picks and this unit was dominated.

  • Frank Martin

    Big props to the Steelers for that great come from behind win. As Chuck Noll used to say in the old days, “They just wouldn’t be denied. You have to give them credit.”

  • heath miller

    wouldnt reallly matter… if we beat the bears and lose to the pats we would have the same record and they still get first round bye on the head to head tie breaker i believe? so to sure it made a lot of difference at this point .. but i could be wrong

  • NCSteel

    The Steelers biggest rival truly IS the Ravens,
    Somewhere, Vontaze Burfict just twisted his own ankle and kicked himself
    In the head.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I respect those guys. That is what rivalry is all about. Hard-hitting, anyone can win, but after… no real hard feelings. That Raven D is no joke. So to lay 39 on them shows how far this Offense has come and what it can do when it is clicking. Za’Darius Smith not playing and Jimmy Smith being out, was huge. All kinds of worm-cans were potentially opened with a loss last night. So I’m really glad to get that game behind us and focus on the next. I have ZERO respect for the team that we have coming up next. Some may disagree, but I don’t feel any different than Coach Tomlin feels about those guys in Cheatin’ Chowda Country.

  • Darth Blount 47

    And may that continue for many years to come. “Amen.”

  • Trey

    The one we needed to win to was the Jags to be honest. That game was so close too until Ben started acting like a high school QB. We could have beat both of those teams right now and would of been sitting pretty man ugh.