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The Games That Melted Our Icy Hearts | The MMQB

Week 13 looked like a dud of a slate until the games got underway and the chaos and excitement unfolded.

Jenny, Conor and Gary start with a throwback rivalry game in Pittsburgh, where Ben Roethlisberger turned back the clock (for at least a quarter) and the Steelers pulled off the upset. What’s next for an otherwise frustrating offense? And where do we fall on John Harbaugh’s decision to go for two and the win after the game’s last touchdown?

Then, a discussion of the Chiefs’ rising defense and still-stalling offense, how the Lions got on the board and what the loss means for the Vikings’ playoff hopes, and how the Seahawks knocked off the 49ers and the Chargers topped the Bengals in downright wacky games.

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Plus, whether the Bucs will continue to enable Antonio Brown after his latest suspension, the Panthers’ decision to fire offensive coordinator Joe Brady after not providing him with a quarterback and more!

Have a question for the show? Email themmqb@gmail.com or tweet at @GGramling_SI, @JennyVrentas or @ConorOrr.

The following transcript is an excerpt from The MMQB NFL Podcast. Listen to the full episode on podcast players everywhere or on SI.com.

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Gary Gramling: Quite an exciting day of football here on Sunday Week 13. And, we're, we're all pessimists. We're all kind of jerks in our own way. And I know I was looking at the schedule before the day began, I was like, boy, what a bunch of crummy football games. This won't be very much fun at all, but it was.

Conor Orr: Lesson learned Gary, always look at the bright side.

Gary Gramling: Yeah, sorry I lumped you guys in as jerks. I'm a jerk, you guys can decide for yourselves. With that transition, we are going to start in Pittsburgh here, uh, less than 24 hours after all these reports came out, that Ben Roethlisberger would be playing his final season in 2021, which is not a shocker, but it's still a story that is kind of out there now. Uh, they go and they upset the Ravens in their own building, classic rivalry game, two teams that know each other well and sort of a game that played out the same way that these games always seem to play out right down to the last play.

Jenny Vrentas: Yeah. This was exactly what you'd expect from the storied Steelers rivalry. And it was almost as if Roethlisberger was reminding all of us that he can still win games like this. This was a, had to have it game to stay in playoff contention. Uh, they still have a difficult path ahead—the Steelers do, but they were able to pull a win out against a team that was previously the top team in the AFC, at least based on record, and reminded us they can still make some plays on defense. Big Ben can still make a few throws and we can't totally count them out this season yet.

Conor Orr: I feel like this game marked the end of me as somebody who, um, is a young person watching football, because when I saw John Harbaugh opt to go for two and win, I was like, stop no play for overtime! Before I was always like, yeah, coaches need to do all this stuff and go for it on fourth down and pass every play. And now I'm like, stop doing all that and go back to the way that like Dick Vermeil would run a team in like 1991, like do all of those things are the ways that you're supposed to do things. Um, just because I thought like at the end you did catch a little bit of a tailwind. I thought Lamar Jackson was playing a little bit better. And I understand, you know, John is always like, I'm doing this for the players. I'm showing my faith in the players and he's always done that. But for some reason, like I just thought like Big Ben was looking like half rickety and half not rickety through that game. And wouldn't you take your chances on that in overtime with that being 50% and then the 50% on the coin flip?.

Jenny Vrentas: Well, the opposite point that I would make is that the Ravens defense seemed to be wearing down a little bit later in the game and they were shorthanded at the cornerback position. So with those factors in mind, I could see why they went for two and say, let's just win it now. And, you know, because we don't know that our defense is going to hold up. I mean, I think that's probably one of the biggest differences that the defense hasn't been quite as reliable as we normally expect from a Ravens defense.

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