The Pittsburgh Steelers gave the Baltimore Ravens a dose of their own medicine Sunday by beating them, 23-20. Like the Ravens often do, Pittsburgh hung around long enough to win a game that they only led twice, 3-0 in the fourth quarter and when the winning field goal by Sean Suisham split the uprights as time expired.
Playing in front of their home crowd, Baltimore was given every chance to put the Steelers away and could not. As has often been the case in their intense rivalry, Sunday’s game was lost rather than won.
Just as they did two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, the Steelers went into Sunday’s game without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. This was the first break that the Ravens did not take advantage of. With 37 year old Charlie Batch running the Pittsburgh offense, it was assumed by most that Baltimore would win. The Ravens were 6-0 in games against Pittsburgh that Roethlisberger did not start. The Steelers had scored a combined 24 points in their two previous games against Baltimore and the Cleveland Browns. On Sunday, they scored 23.
The Ravens offense did not take advantage of opportunities in the first half. Quarterback Joe Flacco was not sharp and Pittsburgh would not let Baltimore get their running game going. The Ravens could only come away with three points after a pass interference penalty gave them first and goal at the Steelers eight. However, the Ravens did build a 10 point lead and led 13-6 at the half.
Batch was not sharp for most of the game and Baltimore did not take advantage. He overthrew receivers and short hopped passes. Late in the first half, Batch missed a wide open Mike Wallace in the end zone costing Pittsburgh a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Batch did connect in the Ravens end zone, but it was Baltimore safety Ed Reed who came down with the ball.
When Batch did connect with a Steelers receiver for what appeared to be a big play Emanuel Sanders fumbled without being hit. This was one break that the Ravens took advantage of as it led to a 34 yard go ahead touchdown run by Ray Rice.
With a 20-13 lead at home and facing a second string quarterback, all Baltimore had to do was not turn the ball over, play defense and go home. They could not.
After Reed’s interception, Flacco was sacked and stripped of the ball by Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Pittsburgh recovered and Batch pounced, hitting tight end Heath Miller for the tying touchdown.
After the Ravens failed to move the ball, Batch led the Steelers to the game winning field goal.
Two weeks ago, the Ravens went into Pittsburgh, did not score an offensive touchdown and won 13-10. Sunday, the Steelers went into Baltimore, fell behind by 10 points, committed two turnovers and won 23-20.
In eight quarters of football, Baltimore and Pittsburgh are tied at 33 points apiece. This is no surprise as seven of the last nine games between them have been decided by three points. The fact that Baltimore did more to lose Sunday’s game than Pittsburgh did to win it is no surprise, either.
For the Steelers and their fans, it was nice to give Baltimore a dose of their own medicine.