The Baltimore Ravens are days away from their playoff game with the Los Angeles Chargers. How did they get here:
The Baltimore Ravens were very close to missing the postseason for the fourth year in a row. It took a close win against the Cleveland Browns to clinch the division. It also took the team getting hot at the right moment while things went their way. Here is a look at why the Ravens were able to reach the postseason this year, and how they finally broke into the dance.
1. The Steelers collapsed:
There’s no getting around it. The Pittsburgh Steelers had the division title wrapped up and locked away. The Steelers could have sealed the deal and never given the Ravens the opportunity to reach the playoffs. In week 17, the wild card wasn’t an option for either the Ravens or the Steelers. The Steelers lost games against teams that they were expected to beat. In consecutive weeks they lost to the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders who will both be picking early in the 2019 NFL Draft. Finally, Pittsburgh stumbled against the New Orleans Saints.
The Steelers went from being 7-2-1 to 9-6-1. There are eight head coaching vacancies and the Steelers may have more drama surrounding them any of the teams looking for coaches. Whether Mike Tomlin lost the locker room or not, the Steelers season fell off the tracks. While John Harbaugh orchestrated one of the best seven game stretches in the Ravens’ history, Tomlin had one of the worst stretches of Steelers’ football.
Pointing out the Steelers downfall isn’t discrediting the Ravens. The Ravens turned things around and controlled what they could control out of the bye week. John Harbaugh and the Ravens put themselves in the hunt. In the end, if JuJu Smith-Schuster didn’t fumble against the Saints, the Ravens could be the AFC North runner up. The Ravens are the AFC North champions because they went 6-1 down the stretch while the Steelers went 4-4.