Final

Ravens 17

(3-1, 2-1 away)

Steelers 14

(3-1, 1-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, October 3, 2010

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA 

1 2 3 4 T
BAL 0 10 0 717
PIT 7 0 0 714

Top Performers

Passing: J. Flacco (BAL) - 256 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Mendenhall (PIT) - 25 CAR, 79 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: D. Mason (BAL) - 6 REC, 80 YDS

Ravens' T.J. Houshmandzadeh reels in game-winning TD in final minute

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers were so close to being 4-0 without Ben Roethlisberger. Only close doesn't count in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry, where every game is tight and no lead is truly safe.

Joe Flacco withstood Pittsburgh's late go-ahead touchdown and goal-line stand to throw an 18-yard scoring pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh with 32 seconds remaining, and the Ravens won 17-14 Sunday to prevent the Steelers from going unbeaten without their suspended quarterback.

"You go and win it on the last drive, there's no better way to win," Flacco said. "There's not too many better ways to win in Pittsburgh."

A worst-case scenario for the Steelers, Roethlisberger's four-game suspension, nearly became a perfect one.

Nearly.

The Steelers (3-1) took a 14-10 lead on Rashard Mendenhall's 7-yard run midway through the fourth quarter, and they appeared to seal it after Flacco twice threw incomplete from their 2 with slightly less than 3 minutes remaining.

But a holding call on a punt gave Baltimore (3-1) the ball at Pittsburgh's 40 with 55 seconds remaining, and Flacco found Anquan Boldin on two passes for 12 yards and Houshmandzadeh for 10.

Flacco, winning for the first time in four games in Pittsburgh, then froze the Steelers' defense with a pump fake that freed up Houshmandzadeh in the end zone for the game winner.

"Joe just chills," an admiring Houshmandzadeh said. "Look at his face -- he's always calm."

Now, instead of being two games down in the AFC North to Pittsburgh with Roethlisberger to go for the rest of the season, the Ravens are tied after winning in Heinz Field for only the second time in 11 games. Tight end Todd Heap called it a "huge win."

"I think one of reasons why we play so hard here is we hardly win here," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said.

For the Steelers, it feels empty. Even without Roethlisberger and his two injured backups, Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon, they were within seconds of being 4-0 for the first time since 1979.

"We fought for perfection," cornerback Bryant McFadden said. "We tried to get as close to that as possible.

Baltimore appeared to squander its final chance at winning when, after driving from its 30 to the Steelers 2, William Gay knocked away a Flacco pass intended for Boldin on fourth down.

"We put two great drives together at the end of the game," Flacco said. "We were fortunate to get the ball back."

Two false-start penalties set back the Steelers as they tried to run out the clock, and Keyaron Fox's holding penalty on the punt gave Baltimore another precious 10 yards to work with in the final 1:08.

"If we make one first down, the game's over," Charlie Batch said.

Flacco was 24 of 37 for 256 yards and an interception to outplay Batch, the No. 4 quarterback who barely practiced, much less played, until he beat Tampa Bay 38-13 last week. Batch was 12 of 21 for 141 yards and an interception.

The Ravens won despite being held to 70 yards rushing. Willis McGahee had 14 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown and Ray Rice, playing despite a bruised right knee, had eight carries for 20 yards -- 121 fewer than he had in Pittsburgh last season.

Like any Ravens-Steelers game, it was physical, low-scoring and close, the fifth consecutive regular-season matchup between the mirror-image rivals that was decided by four points or fewer.

"We found a way to beat them at their place," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "That's what makes it so special."

Both teams scored touchdowns early, an unlikely scenario given the Ravens came in leading the NFL in total defense and Pittsburgh was tops in scoring defense.

Batch's 34-yard completion to Antwaan Randle El set up Mendenhall's 1-yard run late in the first quarter. But Flacco found Derrick Mason for 40 yards ahead of McGahee's 9-yard touchdown run 1:27 into the second quarter.

Billy Cundiff kicked a 33-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, and the Ravens made the 10-7 lead hold up despite twice turning the ball over in the third quarter.

McGahee's fumbled at his 27, but Jeff Reed's 49-yard field-goal attempt struck the right upright. Flacco later was intercepted by Ike Taylor at the Ravens 33, but Reed was wide left from the 45. Reed already has as many misses (four) as he did last season.

The opportunity the Steelers missed was nearly as big.

Game notes


McGahee has seven rushing TDs in eight games against Pittsburgh. ... Baltimore was 0-4 in Pittsburgh since 2006, counting the playoffs. ... Baltimore held Pittsburgh below 100 yards rushing (84) for the 10th time in 11 games. ... After a bye week, Roethlisberger returns Oct. 17 against Cleveland.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
BAL
PIT
1st Downs2214
Passing 1st downs
146
Rushing 1st downs
47
1st downs from penalties
41
3rd down efficiency
4-114-11
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays6550
Total Yards320210
Yards per play4.94.2
Total Drives1210
Passing250126
Comp-Att
24-3712-21
Yards per pass
6.65.5
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-62-15
Rushing7084
Rushing Attempts
2727
Yards per rush
2.63.1
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-42-2
Penalties7-5211-88
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession30:3129:29

Passing Leaders

BALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Flacco24/372566.9111-6
PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Batch12/211416.7012-15

Rushing Leaders

BALCARYDSAVGTDLG
McGahee14392.8110
Rice8202.506
PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall25793.2211
Batch144.004

Receiving Leaders

BALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Mason68013.3040
Boldin7689.7018
PITRECYDSAVGTDLG
Randle El25025.0034
Miller23216.0019

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBALPIT
pitTD2:12Rashard Mendenhall 1 Yard Run (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 64 yds, 4:08
07
SECOND QUARTERBALPIT
balTD13:39Willis Mcgahee 9 Yard Run (Billy Cundiff Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 83 yds, 3:35
77
balFG0:05Billy Cundiff 33 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 14 plays, 48 yds, 5:20
107
FOURTH QUARTERBALPIT
pitTD7:22Rashard Mendenhall 7 Yard Run (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 93 yds, 6:52
1014
balTD0:34T.J. Houshmandzadeh 18 Yard Pass From Joe Flacco (Billy Cundiff Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 40 yds, 0:23
1714

Research Notes

Joe Flacco was at his best Sunday when he had company in the backfield. Flacco completed 81.3 percent of his passes when two players were in the backfield with him, including the game-winning touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Having more players in the backfield provided more blockers and opportunities for play-action.
  [+]
In the first three weeks of the season, Joe Flacco had only completed one pass on seven attempts to T.J. Houshmandzadeh on throws 10 or more yards downfield. On Sunday, Flacco was 3-for-3 on throws longer than 10 yards downfield, including the game-winning touchdown pass.
Joe Flacco has never had much success against the Steelers nickel and dime packages (55.2 passer rating, TD, 2 Int career entering Sunday) and looked miserable for the first 58:52 of Sunday's matchup. However, with a short field and the game on the line, Flacco finally figured it out to escape with the victory.
  [+]
The Steelers and the Ravens were the only teams in the NFL to not allow a pass TD against their sub-small (5+ DBs) defensive formations entering Sunday. The Ravens' streak remains intact, while the Steelers allowed their first pass TD in such formation with T.J. Houshmandzadeh's game-winning touchdown.

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