PITTSBURGH (AP) – Ben Roethlisberger was helped to his feet and walked slowly to the sideline, trying to clear his head from a hard hit and a night that didn’t go his way.
Postseasons don’t usually end at Heinz Field. Not like this. Not to hated Baltimore.
Without injured All-Pro back Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers were one-dimensional on offense and didn’t do nearly enough to stop the Ravens, who snapped a three-game playoff losing streak against their bitter rivals with a 30-17 victory on Saturday night in the AFC wild-card game.
The Steelers (11-6), who had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns in the first half, closed within 20-15 in the fourth quarter but gave up 10 straight points. Roethlisberger, forced from the game for a few plays with a neck injury after he was sacked with Pittsburgh down by 15 and desperately driving, threw an interception in the end zone with 2:57 left to seal the Steelers’ fate.
Roethlisberger finished 31 of 45 for 334 yards and threw two interceptions. He was sacked five times by the Ravens, who were in his face for four quarters and finally got to leave Pittsburgh victorious following three agonizing playoff losses.
Following the game, Roethlisberger slowly dressed at his locker, grimacing as he pulled his short over a large wrap around his right hand.
The black and gold were black and blue.
With Bell sidelined by a hyperextended right knee, the Steelers only rushed for 68 yards and weren’t able to keep Baltimore’s defense from pinning back its ears and going after Big Ben.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL