Final

Steelers 21

(10-6, 3-5 away)

Ravens 27

(5-11, 4-4 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:15 PM ET, December 30, 2007

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 0 7 0 1421
BAL 10 10 7 027

Top Performers

Passing: C. Batch (PIT) - 218 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: M. Smith (BAL) - 22 CAR, 83 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: S. Holmes (PIT) - 4 REC, 98 YDS, 1 TD

Ravens break skid with win over indifferent  Steelers

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers had already accomplished their primary goals in the regular season, so the AFC North champions entered the finale against the Baltimore Ravens with a different objective: Stay healthy.

The Steelers sustained a few injuries in their 27-21 loss Sunday, but more important was the fact that several key players -- including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Hines Ward -- were held out to allow their wounds to heal.

Minutes after the game ended, and perhaps well before then, the Steelers turned their attention toward the Jacksonville Jaguars, their opponent Saturday night in the opening round of the postseason.

"Ready or not, here we come," first-year coach Mike Tomlin said. "That's the reality of it. We're a 10-6 team, we won our division, we've got a home game versus the five seed and we look forward to preparing for that."

Pittsburgh could have captured the No. 3 seed by defeating Baltimore, coupled with a loss by San Diego, but the Steelers downplayed that scenario earlier in the week.

It wasn't just idle talk. If this game meant anything to the Steelers, they probably would have played Roethlisberger, Ward, safety Troy Polamalu and cornerback/kick returner Allen Rossum. All were on the inactive list, nursing minor injuries.

Playing for the first time since replacing Roethlisberger in a 38-7 rout of Baltimore on Nov. 5, Charlie Batch went 16-for-31 for 218 yards and two interceptions. Fifty-nine of those yards came on a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 7:13 remaining.

That made it 27-14, and after a successful onside kick, Batch threw a fourth-down TD pass to Cedrick Wilson with 3:36 left.

But the comeback bid ended with an interception by David Pittman in the closing seconds.

Musa Smith ran for 83 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start, helping the Ravens (5-11) earn their first victory since Oct. 14 and end a nine-game losing streak.

"I took a deep breath once we got that interception," Ravens receiver Derrick Mason said. "All that frustration just came out. No matter how the season went, we were able to win our last game, and that's good."

Pittsburgh hopes to be playing well into January. The Steelers didn't show much emotion in the rain while losing in Baltimore for a fifth consecutive season, but they should be far more inspired -- and healthy -- against the Jaguars.

"We played flat. We really didn't get anything going," Wilson said. "We made a few big plays, but at the same time we really didn't execute like we should have."

Najeh Davenport, elevated to the starter's role last week after Willie Parker went down with a season-ending broken leg, ran for 27 yards on 12 carries before leaving in the third quarter.

The Ravens, meanwhile, will enter the offseason without the burden of a franchise-record losing streak that included five defeats by at least 14 points.

"It was great," coach Brian Billick said of the victory. "Hopefully, that's a sign of things to come."

Plagued by turnovers all season, Baltimore took advantage of one to go up 7-0.

Starting in place of Rossum, Willie Reid fumbled the opening kickoff and Devard Darling recovered at the Pittsburgh 35. Eight plays later, Smith scored from 2.

One week earlier, Smith was third on the depth chart. But Willis McGahee fractured two ribs last week in a loss to Seattle, and backup Mike Anderson was out with a hamstring injury.

Pittsburgh's first possession ended when Batch threw an incomplete pass on a fourth-down play from the Baltimore 32, and the Ravens moved 57 yards before Matt Stover kicked a field goal to make it 10-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Reid lost the ball after slipping on the wet turf. It was ruled a fumble, but a replay reversed the call.

A 32-yard touchdown run by fourth-string running back Cory Ross made it 17-0. Davenport scored from the 1 with 10 minutes left in the second quarter, but Stover kicked a field goal just before halftime to make it 20-7.

A 15-yard pass from rookie Troy Smith to Darling upped the margin to 20 points in the third quarter.

"We didn't start fast. Hopefully this will be a good lesson for us heading into next week," Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller said. "We've got to start from the opening kickoff and be on top of our game."

Smith, making his second NFL start, went 16-for-27 for 171 yards.

Game notes


Pittsburgh allowed six rushing TDs this year, three by Baltimore. ... Steelers injuries included T Max Starks (left knee sprain), LB James Harrison (shoulder bruise), CB Bryant McFadden (ankle), Reid (shoulder). ... Mason finished with a team-record 103 catches.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
BAL
1st Downs1421
Passing 1st downs
911
Rushing 1st downs
39
1st downs from penalties
21
3rd down efficiency
4-109-16
4th down efficiency
1-20-0
Total Plays5069
Total Yards264334
Yards per play5.34.8
Total Drives1111
Passing218154
Comp-Att
16-3116-27
Yards per pass
7.05.3
Interceptions thrown
20
Sacks-Yards Lost
0-02-17
Rushing46180
Rushing Attempts
1940
Yards per rush
2.44.5
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-22-4
Penalties6-406-86
Turnovers31
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
20
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession23:1836:42

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Batch16/312187.0220-0
BALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Smith16/271716.3102-17

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Davenport12272.317
Russell6203.308
BALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Smith22833.8124
Ross12726.0132

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLG
Holmes49824.5159
Washington56813.6024
BALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Mason67212.0016
Darling34916.3118

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITBAL
balTD10:14Musa Smith, 2 yd run (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 35 yds, 4:45
07
balFG1:51Matt Stover 28 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 57 yds, 4:28
010
SECOND QUARTERPITBAL
balTD13:35Cory Ross, 32 yd run (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 52 yds, 1:33
017
pitTD10:27Najeh Davenport, 1 yd run (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 75 yds, 3:20
717
balFG0:21Matt Stover 31 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 25 yds, 4:27
720
THIRD QUARTERPITBAL
balTD3:49Devard Darling, 15 yd pass from Troy Smith (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 74 yds, 5:25
727
FOURTH QUARTERPITBAL
pitTD7:23Santonio Holmes, 59 yd pass from Charlie Batch (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 91 yds, 1:31
1427
pitTD3:40Cedrick Wilson, 7 yd pass from Charlie Batch (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 56 yds, 3:37
2127