The Baltimore Ravens entered Sunday Night Football atop the AFC North division, with the Pittsburgh Steelers clinching at least a playoff berth thanks to the loss by the New York Jets, it was critical for the Ravens to hold the lead. Unfortunately for Baltimore however, they ran into a buzz saw, also known as the San Diego Chargers. The two teams traded scores early for a 7-7 tie, but in the second quarter the Chargers began to pout it on the Ravens.
The Chargers took a 17-7 lead into halftime and continued in the third quarter to increase their lead. Thanks to a late fourth quarter touchdown by the Ravens, the 34-14 loss doesn't look as bad as it did on the field. Quarterback Joe Flacco struggled to hit anything down the field and turned the ball over multiple times. The loss drops the Ravens to 10-4 with the Steelers having a chance to grab hold of the division.
If the Steelers can knock off the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football, they will move into sole possession of first place in the AFC North, with the Ravens falling all the way to the fifth seed. With the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, and Jets all losing, the Steelers and Ravens are guaranteed at least the fifth seed. The real question will be who can hold on to the division crown? The Ravens loss leaves the door wide open for the Steelers. The Steelers have their own concerns however entering Monday Night Football, as the status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is still unknown. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said, however, that he is "optimistic" Roethlisberger will play.
Mike Tomlin says he's "optimistic" Ben Roethlisberger will be able to play on MNF vs Niners— trey wingo (@wingoz) December 19, 2011
Obviously without Roethlisberger, taking hold of the AFC North will be a lot tougher, but the Steelers now control their destiny in the division.