Pittsburgh rallied from down 10 at the half to take a lead on Baltimore. That’s when Lamar Jackson and the Steelers’ defense collided.
Of the 256 games played every N.F.L. regular season, two — and only two — are as reliably entertaining as they are vicious and close, enriched with enmity, malice and a healthy dose of respect. They are the games between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, A.F.C. North border feuds that teem with after-the-whistle skirmishes, out-of-bounds hits and postseason implications, year after year after year.
The latest installment of the league’s nastiest current rivalry, contested Sunday amid a pelting rain in Baltimore, contained the usual trappings and some added suspense. After four lead changes, a critical fourth-down stop and a spirited late drive, the Steelers’ 28-24 victory was not decided until the final, breathless play.
When it was over, after the Steelers had overcome a 10-point deficit and after Lamar Jackson’s throw into double coverage in the end zone had been batted away, the Steelers were almost too exhausted to celebrate — almost. They endured, asserting their divisional supremacy to remain the N.F.L.’s last unbeaten team, at 7-0, despite rampant statistical disadvantages and uncharacteristic lapses defending the run.