8% to 100%: The story of Steelers’ path to playoffs

Matthew Scabilloni, Sports Editor

Heading into Sunday, the Steelers had an 8% chance to make it to the playoffs, but they were able to beat all odds and make it to the playoffs.

The Steelers needed three things to happen on Sunday: a Steelers’ win against the Ravens, a Jaguars’ win over the Colts, and the Raiders and Chargers to not tie on Sunday Night Football.

Sunday started off with the usual for the Steelers. A dormant and sloppy offense with the defense keeping them in the game. The score at the half was Steelers 3 Ravens 3.

At the same time, it looked like the impossible was happening. The Jaguars were beating the Colts with Rookie Trevor Lawrence having the best game of his career. The score at the half was Jaguars 13 Colts 3.

At the start of the second half in the Steelers game, it didn’t look good for their playoff chances. The Ravens were running all over the Steelers in the third quarter, but somehow someway the Steelers kept themselves within striking distance. At the end of the third quarter, it was Steelers 6 Ravens 10.

At the start of the second half in the Jaguars game, Trevor Lawrence kept on playing like his first overall selection self, and the Jaguars started taking total control of the game. At the end of the third quarter, the score read Jaguars 23 Colts 3.

In the fourth quarter, and possibly the final quarter of Ben Roethlisberger’s career in the NFL, the Steelers did not play like they wanted it to be Roethlisberger’s last quarter of his career. The Steelers were able to have a 10-play five-minute and 13-second drive ending with a Chase Claypool 3-yard TD catch. Steelers 13 Ravens 10.

At the same time in Jacksonville, Florida, the Jaguars did what no one expected and were able to beat the Colts with a final score of 26-11. One out of three… done.

Back in Baltimore, Maryland, the Ravens marched down the field with a seven-play one-minute and 41-second drive, ending with a Justin Tucker 46-yard field goal. This game was headed towards overtime. At the end of regulation, it was Steelers 13 Ravens 13.

In overtime, the Ravens won the toss and got the ball first; all they needed to do to win the game was score a TD. The Steelers defense was not going to let that happen. They forced the Ravens to punt to the Steelers with 6:24 left in the game.

The last regular season and possibly even Roethlisberger’s last drive of his career ended how all Steelers fans wanted it to– a 15-play, four-minute-and-28-second drive including two third-down conversions and one fourth-down conversion to basically seal the game. Chris Boswell officially ended the game with a 36-yard field goal. Steelers 16 Ravens 13. Two out of three… done.

Now all the Steelers needed was one thing to happen: no tie in the Chargers vs. Raiders game on Sunday Night Football. Simple enough, right?… Absolutely not!

The Chargers vs. Raiders game started out looking like a tie was a possibility, but not that much of a worry because there was only one tie all season, that being Steelers vs. Lions in Week 9. The halftime score was Raiders 17 Chargers 14.

At the start of the second half, the tie started to look less likely with the Raiders taking a 15 point lead eight minutes and 23-seconds left to go in the game. Raiders 29 Chargers 14.

Chargers QB Justin Herbert had absolutely no plan on losing this game and that was evident on his two last drives of regulation. In his second to last drive, Justin Herbert almost did the impossible.

Herbert converted a fourth-and-21 and scored a TD to receiver Joshua Palmer. At this moment, the Chargers were down by nine and needed a two-point conversion to make the tie still possible. Unsurprisingly to all Steelers fans, he converted it. Raiders 29 Chargers 22.

Still, all the Raiders needed to do is avoid the tie and get the win is getting two first downs, but of course, they couldn’t do that. This set up the Chargers to tie the game.

Justin Herbert led a 19-play, two-minute-and-six-second drive to tie the game at the end of regulation. In this drive, Herbert was able to convert three fourth downs and keep the Chargers in the game. At the end of regulation, it was Raiders 29 Chargers 29.

In overtime, two field goals by both teams later, Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs, and Daniel Carlson both became legends to the Steelers fans without even playing for the Steelers.

On the final drive, Carr and Jacobs were able to combine for all 46 yards and get kicker Carlson in field goal range to win the game. Carlson hit the field goal to win the game. The final score was Raiders 32 Chargers 29.

Three out of three… done. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the playoffs after only an 8% chance.

The Steelers now play away against the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.

Survive and advance. Anything is possible in the playoffs.