It is interesting what an ugly win can do for a team.
In essence, this has been a season in which everything has gone right for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yet in the past two weeks, they have had to face the type of adversity they never saw in their first five games. The Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens each presented their unique set of obstacles; last week it was running back Derrick Henry, this week was last year's league MVP in Lamar Jackson.
After the first half, many would have expected the outcome to be a Steelers loss. The Ravens dominated time of possession, the defense could not figure how to stop the run, and they only managed to score seven points. Even with this, I had no fears on the outcome because the Steelers have shown this season, their ability to answer adversity.
The turning point of the game was the interception by rookie linebacker Alex Highsmith. After a poor offensive sequence, had the Ravens scored, it would have likely been too big of a deficit to overcome, considering how inefficient their offense was at that point. Highsmith's interception breathed new life in the team, and the offense responded with a touchdown.
The game was as physical as many expected this rivalry, with the casualties suffered on both sides. In this battle of attrition, the Steelers had just a little more fight in them than the Ravens down the stretch. Even with the game on the line, they found a way to come up with the win, even if by perception, they may not have deserved it.
At the end of the day, a team cannot grow without facing adversity. It reveals who we are and it defines us. Great teams find ways to overcome adversity, even if the odds seem unreasonable. For the Steelers to win another Superbowl, they are going to need to continue fighting. So far, this team has proven to be one that is willing to always fight.