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.”
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 the Pittsburgh 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 defense with a pump fake that freed up Houshmandzadeh in the end zone.
“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 the reasons why we play so hard here is we hardly win here,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said.
The Steelers 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.
Ravens 17, Steelers 14
Pit—Mendenhall 1 run (Reed kick)
Bal—McGahee 9 run (Cundiff kick)
Bal—FG Cundiff 33
Pit—Mendenhall 7 run (Reed kick)
Bal—Houshmandzadeh 18 pass from Flacco (Cundiff kick)
|Total Net Yards||320||210|
|Time of Poss.||30:31||29:29|
RUSHING—Baltimore, McGahee 14-39, Rice 8-20, L.McClain 2-7, Boldin 1-3, Flacco 2-1. Pittsburgh, Mendenhall 25-79, Batch 1-4, Wallace 1-1.
PASSING—Baltimore, Flacco 24-37-1-256. Pittsburgh, Batch 12-21-1-141.
RECEIVING—Baltimore, Boldin 7-68, Mason 6-80, Houshmandzadeh 3-49, Heap 3-35, L.McClain 2-13, McGahee 2-2, Rice 1-9. Pittsburgh, Randle El 2-50, Miller 2-32, Wallace 2-24, Ward 2-14, Mendenhall 2-9, Brown 1-6, Redman 1-6.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Baltimore, Cundiff 46 (WR). Pittsburgh, Reed 49 (WR), 45 (WL).