BALTIMORE — Ben Roethlisberger got the better of the Baltimore Ravens one last time on Sunday afternoon. The Steelers, who beat the Ravens 16-13 in thrilling overtime, are now on the precipice of a playoff bid. With the win, Roethlisberger now improves to 19-11 overall against the Ravens in his career.
However, from a heave and pray ball to Antonio Brown, the immaculate extension, Jacoby Jones breaking the Steelers’ hearts, Torrey Smith putting a dagger in them, Santonio Holmes making a toe-tapping grab, and now a dramatic last-second field goal to send the Steelers to the postseason, Ben Roethlisberger has seen it all in the Steelers and Ravens rivalry. However, it is not something that he takes for granted in his career. In fact, he has nothing but respect for the team in Purple.
“I don’t expect anything different in this rivalry,” Roethlisberger said. “At this place, this is special. Anytime you can come to this place and get a win you take. People always ask me where my least favorite place is to come and play. And it’s always Baltimore.”
There are a number of factors for Roethlisberger that come into play. When dealing with a rivalry as intense and recently historic as Steelers-Ravens, it is easy for the opposing team to ratchet up the pressure at home. For Roethlisberger, that is exactly what ends up happening every time he and the Steelers come to M&T Bank Stadium.
“The team is usually almost always good, especially the defense,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s always crazy loud and the fans are ruthless. That’s a compliment to this place and how hard it is to play here. It is so special getting a win here.”
Roethlisberger has been through plenty of Ravens games where he ended up battered and bruised coming out of it. Still, the rivalry is always special for Roethlisberger because of what the rivalry means. Explaining it to the younger players is tough, but the commonalities are always the same between the games.
“I told a lot of those guys that I am not going to miss playing the Ravens,” Roethlisberger said. “This game is, against them specifically, football is already a very violent game, but playing these guys is one where you wake up the next day and you’re hurt. It’s never dirty. It’s just good old-fashioned football. Someone on the sideline asked me if this is always how these games go. I can only think of one or two times when it was not something like this. In all my times playing these guys, I’m just so thankful for this rivalry. I’m so thankful for the games and the players I have played against in this rivalry.”
Next year, the game will be weird without Roethlisberger, certainly. As someone who has been the crux of the rivalry for the better part of two decades, the rivalry will have to reinvent itself and its physicality. However, this last rendition was just another classic chapter in the historic rivalry of the two franchises.