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Holliday returns punt, kickoff for TDs vs. Ravens

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Holliday returns punt, kickoff for TDs vs. Ravens

DENVER (AP) The shortest player in the league turned in the biggest performance for the Denver Broncos.

And yet Trindon Holliday's record day still couldn't help his team beat the Ravens.

Holliday went 90 yards running back a punt the first time Denver touched the ball against Baltimore on Saturday. Then he returned the second-half kickoff 104 yards to become the first player to score on a kick and punt return in the same playoff game.

But the Broncos blew a late lead and lost 38-35 in double overtime in the divisional-round game.

And that overshadowed any accomplishment - big time.

``Oh, man, it was tough,'' Holliday said of walking off the field, knowing the season was over even though he returned two kicks for scores. ``It was tough to see that happen.''

The 5-foot-5 Holliday gained 248 yards on returns, the most in a postseason game. It also earned a healthy dose of respect from Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who's seen enough of Holliday to last quite a while.

``It was painful,'' Harbaugh said. ``We just didn't cover very well and they just blocked it really well and this guy, Trindon Holliday, he's a really great player. I've never seen anything like that.''

On his punt return, Holliday was barely touched as he sprinted down the right side of the field to the end zone, where a host of Broncos ran to greet him. Former Ravens returner Jermaine Lewis held the playoff punt return record of 88 yards against Pittsburgh on Jan. 20, 2002.

Holliday opened the second half by fielding the kick in the end zone, cutting left, slipping out of Chykie Brown's tackle and was on his way. On the sideline, Peyton Manning hopped up and down with every step Holliday took toward the end zone.

As soon as Holliday crossed the goal line, he spiked the football with authority and then posed for the cameras.

The previous record for a kickoff return was 102 yards by Atlanta's Eric Weems in 2010.

With those 248 return yards, Holliday surpassed the mark shared by Andre Coleman of San Diego on Jan. 29, 1995, in the Super Bowl, and Desmond Howard of Green Bay on Jan. 26, 1997, also in the Super Bowl. Each had 244 total return yards, and Howard was the MVP of that Super Bowl.

Holliday was assigned to the Broncos through waivers when he was let go by Houston in October.

A former track star at LSU, Holliday returned a kickoff 105 yards for a score at Cincinnati. The next week he scored on a punt return at Carolina.

Holliday sat out the final game of the regular season with an ankle injury. The time off did wonders and he returned to practice this week.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Steelers clinch AFC North with tight win over Ravens

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USA Today Sports

Steelers clinch AFC North with tight win over Ravens

PITTSBURGH -- Ryan Shazier was everywhere. His helmet rested on the Pittsburgh Steelers' bench. His jersey too. His face and #Shalieve stitched on specially-designed cleats. His familiar No. 50 printed in white in the middle of a gold circle on T-shirts worn by teammates searching for a way to let Shazier know he is never far from their mind as he recovers from a spinal injury that put the linebacker's blossoming career in jeopardy.

Shazier may never play football again. That doesn't make him any less of a Steeler. And the men who have taken so much from him over the last three-plus years decided it was time they gave him something back in return: the AFC North title he ordered them to lock down without him.

Chris Boswell made a 46-yard field goal with 42 seconds left and Pittsburgh's defense overcame a shaky night without their most dynamic player to shut down Baltimore's last-gasp drive and hold on for a 39-38 victory on Sunday night to capture their third division title in the last four years.

"We are riding with that guy," head coach Mike Tomlin said of Shazier. "He is strong. He is strengthening us."

Looked like it.

RELATED: RAY LEWIS ONE STEP CLOSER TO HALL OF FAME

The Steelers (11-2) trailed by 11 points going into the fourth quarter but capped an emotionally draining week to rally for their eighth straight victory, one they couldn't wait to share with Shazier, who joined the giddy postgame celebration via Facetime.

Ben Roethlisberger threw for 506 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to top 500 yards passing three times. Antonio Brown caught 11 passes for 213 yards, including two long gains in the fourth quarter that allowed the Steelers to recover after blowing an early 14-point lead. Le'Veon Bell had 125 yards of total offense and scored three touchdowns .

"We can win a shootout against anybody," Bell said. "I feel like we can score points whenever we need to."

Good thing, because Pittsburgh might have to. The Ravens (7-6) rolled up 414 yards against the NFL's fourth-ranked defense and recovered from a slow start to score on five consecutive drives and six out of seven to take a 38-29 lead on Javorius Allen's second touchdown with 6:44 left.

Not much time against most teams. Far too much against the Steelers.

Roethlisberger and Brown, who is mounting a legitimate MVP candidacy, hooked up on a 57-yard connection set up an 11-yard sprint by Bell with 3:29 to go. The Steelers forced the Ravens into a three-and-out and Roethlisberger calmly led Pittsburgh within field goal range, including a 34-yard lob down the sideline to Brown that set up Boswell's winner.

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Baltimore's Joe Flacco threw for 269 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception but was strip-sacked by rookie linebacker T.J. Watt on the Ravens' final snap.

"This one hurts," Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We lose to them the same way we did last year. This one sucks, but we've got to get over it. Yeah, this one's going to hurt but it's best for us to have a short memory on this one because if we win out there's a good chance we'll be in (the playoffs)."

Shazier, who's been in the hospital since injuring his spine in the first quarter of last week's victory over Cincinnati, told his teammates to finish the work he helped start. Even as they celebrated an important step in a journey they hope will carry them deep into the postseason, they were making plans to keep Shazier involved, starting with a late-night trip to the hospital to deliver him his AFC North champions' swag.

"We are going to give him the hat and T-shirt tonight," good friend and fellow inside linebacker Vince Williams said.

When someone mentioned visitor's hours were probably over, Williams repeated "tonight." Then, it was home to rest before preparing for a showdown with New England next Sunday.

"That's the crazy part about the NFL, things constantly change and you've got to keep rolling," Williams said. "So you've got to find a way to roll with the punches even though it may be a haymaker, got to find a way to recover."

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Ravens vs. Steelers: Week 14 time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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USA Today Sports

Ravens vs. Steelers: Week 14 time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Strike up the band because it's Steelers Week and both teams have something to play for.

With a win Sunday night, the Steelers will have clinched their third AFC North title in four seasons. For the Ravens, it messes up the Steelers home field advantage against the Patriots in the postseason and continues to secure a wild card spot for them.

Though it's never easy to win in Pittsburgh, the Ravens are coming off of a 44-20 win against the Detroit Lions where quarterback Joe Flacco had a 63. 9% completion rate, threw for 2 TD and 0 INT. For the first time, in a long time, it seemed as if the Ravens offense was starting to click.

The Ravens defense has been strong all season, shutting out the Bengals, Dolphins and Packers, but will be lacking just a bit after cornerback Jimmy Smith suffered a season-ending Achilles injury against the Lions. It was also announced Smith violated the leagues PED policy and will serve a four-game suspension.

The Steelers are coming off a 23-20 win against the Bengals that lifted them to 10-2, but they also took a lot of 'L's' during Monday's chippy game.

RELATED: WEEK 14 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Linebacker Ryan Shazier was taken to a nearby Cincinnati hospital after colliding with Bengals receiver Josh Malone. After the impact, Shazier immediately grabbed his back and couldn't move his lower extremedies. He was eventually carted off the field and underwent a MRI and CT scan. The back injury will not require surgery, but it can be expected he will miss some time.

Shazier leads the team in tackles, interceptions and forced fumbles. His absence will be something the Ravens offense will need to take advantage of.

They will also be without reciever JuJu Smith-Schuster after he was suspended for one game for his hit on Bengals' Vontaze Burfict.

The Steelers are on a seven game winning streak while the Ravens have won their last three. Points per games are basically identical with the Ravens averaging 23.3 PPG and the Steelers averaging 23.4. The Ravens have allowed 330.5 yards, while the Steelers allowed 318.5. Click here for a full list of stats and injury report.

The Ravens and Steelers have met 47 times with the Steelers leading the series 26-21.

Ahead of Sunday night's game, here's everything you need to know.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

Week 14 Ravens vs. Steelers:

Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

What: Week 14 NFL regular season 

When: 8:30 p.m.. ET, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017

Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

TV Channel: NBC

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live

Online with no Cable TV: fuboTV (Try for free)

Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090 

Point Spread: Pittsburgh, -5

Over/Under: 43.5

Weather: 29 degrees, partly cloudy

BALTIMORE RAVENS 2017 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE:

Week 1 (Sun, Sept. 10): 20-0  at Cincinnati Bengals (W)

Week 2 (Sun, Sept. 17): 24-10 vs. Cleveland Browns (W)

Week 3 (Sun, Sept. 24): 44-7 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (in London) (L)

Week 4 (Sun, Oct. 1): vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 5 (Sun, Oct. 8): at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m. (W)

Week 6 (Sun, Oct. 15): vs Chicago Bears, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 7 (Sun, Oct. 22): at Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 8 (Thur, Oct. 26): vs. Miami Dolphins, 8:25 p.m. (W)

Week 9 (Sun, Nov. 5): at Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 10 (Sun, Nov. 12): BYE week

Week 11 (Sun, Nov. 19): at Green Bay Packers, 1:00 p.m.(W)

Week 12 (Mon, Nov. 27): vs. Houston Texans, 8:30 p.m.(W)

Week 13 (Sun, Dec. 3): vs. Detroit Lions, 1:00 p.m.(W)

Week 14: (Sun, Dec. 10): at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 p.m.

Week 15: (Sun, Dec. 17): at Cleveland Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: (Sat, Dec. 23): vs Indianapolis Colts, 4:30 p.m.

Week 17: (Sun, Dec. 31): vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m