The Steelers clinched an improbable playoff berth on Sunday (January 9) after earning a crucial overtime victory in their final regular season game and having the necessary chips fall in their favor.
Pittsburgh needed a win against the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens, as well as an Indianapolis Colts upset loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and for the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders' Sunday Night Football matchup to just not end in a tie.
All three of those things happened, though perhaps in more dramatic fashion than understandably anxious Steelers fans had likely hoped for.
Pittsburgh defeated Baltimore, 16-13, after Chris Boswell made a game-winning 36-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining in overtime.
The Jaguars' spoiled the Colts' playoff chances with a shocking 26-11 win -- their third of the 2021 season -- at TIAA Bank Field in arguably the most surprising necessary outcome of the three games.
The Steelers then had to wait hours for the Chargers-Raiders matchup to know their playoff fate.
Surely, a rivalry game between two potential playoff teams to conclude the season wouldn't end in a tie, right?
Well, the Week 18 Sunday Night Football matchup nearly did, as the Chargers and Raiders each kicked successful field goals on their respective opening overtime drives.
Fortunately for the Steelers, Las Vegas led a final 4:30 drive capped off by Daniel Carlson's 47-yard field goal as time expired to bounce the Chargers out of the postseason and open the seventh and final playoff seed for Pittsburgh.
That means Roethlisberger, who has now publicly acknowledged his plans to retire after the 2021-22 season, will get to play one last playoff run before his inevitable Pro Football Hall of Fame induction.
“So many people got involved. So many people helped make this happen. Offense, defense — there was never a doubt Bos was going to make it,” Roethlisberger said after Sunday's game via ProFootballTalk. “This is a group that we just wanted to try to get in.”
The Steelers will now face the No. 2 seed Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday (January 16) in the AFC Wild Card round.