In a game that no one could have seen coming, the Steelers and Ravens had their usual knock down drag out fight, but sprinkled in was a whopping 55 points that in the end was pulled out by the good guys 31-24.
Things looked bleak for the black and gold, to the point where they trailed 21-7 at the half, and after kicking away on the first drive of the second half, the game changed when Ravens RB Ray Rice fumbled and the Steelers recovered at the Baltimore 23.
From there the Steelers controlled the game, they scored two plays later, and then two drives later after a pick by Ryan Clark scored on a pitch and catch from Ben Roethlisberger to Hines Ward to tie the game with 1:21 left in the third quarter.
After a Joe Flacco fumble on the next series, the Steelers took a 24-21 lead on a short Shaun Suisham field goal with 12:15 left. The Ravens finally got some offense going, and tied the game with 3:54 left after a long punt return put them in position to make it 24 all.
With the game on the line, Roethlisberger hit the biggest pass play of the year on 3rd-and-19 from the Steelers 38 with 2:07 left, throwing a 58-yard pass to Antonio Brown to put the Steelers at the Ravens four at the two-minute warning.
Five plays later with 1:33 left, Rashard Mendenhall pounded in from the two on third down to give the Steelers the 31-24 lead. The Ravens last chance was two incomplete passes, a sack by Ziggy Hood, and an incomplete pass for mouthy T.J. Houshmandzadeh on fourth down to wrap up yet another chapter in the Steelers beating the Ravens when it counts the most.
The Steelers defense did its part, as they held the Ravens to 126 yards, while the Steelers after falling behind by two scores ended up gaining 263 yards. Flacco was 16 of 30 for 125 yards as the Ravens became the eighth team in NFL playoff history to fail to gain at least 100 yards in the first three quarters. All eight teams lost.
The Steelers, 9-0 against division teams in the playoffs, advance to their fifth AFC championship game in 10 seasons next Sunday—at New England if the Patriots beat the Jets on Sunday, in Pittsburgh if the Jets win. They will be play to reach the Super Bowl for third time in six seasons.