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John Harbaugh goes for 2 and the win, it doesn't work and Steelers hang on to beat Ravens

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  • Baltimore Ravens
    Baltimore Ravens
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  • Pittsburgh Steelers
    Pittsburgh Steelers
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  • John Harbaugh
    John Harbaugh
    American football player and coach

John Harbaugh wanted one play for the win. The Pittsburgh Steelers probably didn't mind. 

Harbaugh went for the two-point conversion and the win after the Baltimore Ravens scored with 12 seconds left, and Lamar Jackson's pass under pressure was a bit wide and went off Mark Andrews' fingertips. The Steelers recovered Justin Tucker's tricky onside kick after that. 

Pittsburgh won 20-19 in a classic Ravens-Steelers rivalry game. Ben Roethlisberger threw two fourth-down touchdowns to help lead the win, including one with 1:48 left, and that will be a big part of the story of Sunday's game. 

But the biggest topic will be Harbaugh's gamble. 

Ben Roethlisberger rallies after slow start

There was a report this past weekend that Roethlisberger has been telling former teammates this will be his last season as Steelers quarterback. Roethlisberger started slow, but helped lead a nice comeback win Sunday.  

The Steelers didn't have a touchdown through three quarters, then Roethlisberger heated up. A nice fake duped a defender in the air and he hit Diontae Johnson for a wide-open touchdown over the middle to get the Steelers going. Chris Boswell missed the extra point, but the momentum of the game changed. The teams traded field goals and then Roethlisberger had a chance to lead a game-winning drive after a Ravens punt. 

Roethlisberger hit Johnson for a touchdown with 1:48 left to take the lead. Then he hit Pat Freiermuth for the two-point conversion. 

It hasn't been an easy season for Roethlisberger. But that fourth quarter had to feel pretty good. Still, he had to sweat out the final Ravens drive, and the two-point play in particular. 

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) helped his team to a big win over the Ravens. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) helped his team to a big win over the Ravens. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ravens take a loss

When the Ravens got the ball back after the Steelers took a lead in the last two minutes, they started at their own 40 due to a kickoff that went out of bounds. Jackson threw a touchdown to Sammy Watkins with 12 seconds left. The Ravens were practically assured of overtime, considering their kicker is Justin Tucker. But Harbaugh didn't want any part of overtime.

It was a calculated gamble to go for two, and it didn't pay off. It might have been questionable only because the Ravens should consider themselves the better team. The Steelers didn't want overtime either, and were happy to end it on Jackson's incompletion to Andrews. But Harbaugh didn't want to worry about losing a coin toss, and the struggles of his offense through the game probably played into his decision to take his chances on one play for the win. It wasn't a terrible decision. It just didn't work out. 

The good news for the Ravens is the Cincinnati Bengals lost too, so they're still in first place of the AFC North. But they blew a chance to extend their lead in the division. 

The Steelers are 6-5-1 and still alive in the postseason race. A good fourth quarter from Roethlisberger helped put them in that position, and a two-point gamble gone wrong finished the win.