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Ravens win third straight in Pittsburgh

11/4/2001

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- By a foot, the Pittsburgh Steelers missed
taking a firm grip on the AFC Central and hurting the Super Bowl
champion Baltimore Ravens' chances of returning to the playoffs.

Kris Brown's foot.

Brown, usually one of the league's most dependable kickers,
missed a 35-yard field goal try in the closing seconds and the
Ravens got two field goals from Matt Stover in the fourth quarter
to beat Pittsburgh 13-10 Sunday in matchup of the NFL's two best
defenses.

The Ravens (5-3), winning in Pittsburgh for the third straight
season, were in danger of going three losses down to the Steelers
(5-2) in the division. Instead, they got just enough offense to win
on a day their No. 2-ranked defense had just enough left to keep
from losing.

The Steelers had 21 first downs to the Ravens' 10 and outgained
them 348-183, only to lose because the most reliable component of
their offense broke down. Brown missed 4-of-5 field goal attempts
on a breezy, 59-degree day.

Brown was 11-of-13 going into the game and had made nine of his
previous 10.

Can the Steelers claim any kind of a moral victory knowing that they
played better than Baltimore?

Pittsburgh basically dominated the Ravens; four missed field goals are the
reason the Steelers lost the game. But there are no moral victories in the
NFL.

Sure, the Steelers can feel good about moving the ball effectively, and
Kordell Stewart looked good throwing the ball. They looked strong
offensively and defensively.

The key was that Pittsburgh lost the special-teams game -- returns, field
position, field goals. The special teams cost the Steelers the game.

ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the
Redskins and 49ers.


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"It just was a bad stroke," Brown said, referring to his
decisive miss with eight seconds remaining. "I lost the game for
my team. I don't have any excuses."

After making a 38-yarder in the first quarter, Brown was wide
right on a 41-yarder later in the half, and also missed a 33-yarder
in the third quarter that was partially blocked.

Brown missed yet again, a 48-yard attempt at the windy end of
Heinz Field with 4:22 remaining that would have put the Steelers
ahead. His final miss also came at the open end, where swirling
winds blow in from Pittsburgh's three rivers.

Stover followed Brown's third miss by putting the Ravens ahead
on a 39-yarder with 1:49 left, on a drive highlighted by Randall
Cunningham's 26-yard completion to tight end Shannon Sharpe. The
two also hooked up in the first half on a 13-yard scoring pass for
Baltimore's only touchdown, one set up by Jermaine Lewis' 53-yard
kickoff return.

"The wind was really tough at the open end," said Stover, who
made both of his attempts. "When you look at the flags, it looks
like it's going one direction, but it's actually going at the other
direction down at field level."

Stover tied it at 10 with a 25-yarder he was forced to kick
twice. Following a long conference, the officials decided the
quarter ended before he got the first kick off. That forced him to
make it again at the protected end of the stadium.

"I don't want to give Matt Stover too much credit -- he's a
glorified soccer player -- but I've got to give it to him," Ravens
lineman Tony Siragusa said, laughing. "With the wind today, it was
tough to kick field goals."

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis pointed out this is the same time of
the season the Ravens began their run to the Super Bowl last
season. They also were a game above .500 in early November, but
didn't lose again.

"The thing is, early in the season, everybody jumps out and has
great records, but it's about consistency. When you get into ball
games you really need to win, those are the ones you have to pull
out," Lewis said.

Still, the Steelers got the better of that highly confident
Ravens defense. Kordell Stewart was 22-of-37 for 236 yards and
Jerome Bettis ran for 91 yards, but Pittsburgh settled for field
goals too many times -- then didn't make those.

"We played better than them, we outplayed them, but that's why
they're the Super Bowl champs," Steelers safety Lee Flowers said.
"They found a way to win."

Brown might have had the worst day of his career, but the
Ravens' special teams weren't perfect, either. Kyle Richardson's
punt out of the end zone -- yes, the windy end -- traveled only 30
yards. That allowed Stewart to hit Plaxico Burress in the right
front corner of the end zone on a 21-yard scoring pass, Burress'
first touchdown in 1½ NFL seasons, with 15 seconds left before
halftime.

Game notes
Bettis fell nine yards short of becoming the first runner to
gain 100 yards against Baltimore in 45 games. The Ravens have held
him below 100 six straight times. ... Steelers LT Wayne Gandy (flu,
hamstring) didn't play, so Oliver Ross made his first NFL start.
... The Steelers' first loss in Heinz Field came in their third
game there. ... The Ravens rallied in the fourth quarter for the
second straight week. Cunningham, making his second start for the
injured Elvis Grbac, threw two TD passes in the fourth quarter last
week to beat Jacksonville 18-17. ... The Ravens are 14-2 in
November and December under coach Brian Billick. ... Pittsburgh
hasn't started 6-1 since 1978.