PITTSBURGH – Torrey Smith wasn’t going to let the game-winning touchdown slip through his hands twice.
Five plays after a sure scoring strike tipped off his fingers, the Baltimore rookie receiver held onto a 26-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco with 8 seconds remaining to lift the Ravens past the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20 on Sunday night.
Smith, also flagged for a costly penalty on the game’s first play, capped Baltimore’s game-winning 92-yard drive by beating William Gay down the right sideline as the Ravens (6-2) snapped Pittsburgh’s four-game winning streak.
Flacco finished with 300 yards passing and Baltimore swept the season series from the rival Steelers (6-3) for the first time since 2006.
The Steelers appeared to be in control after rallying from a 10-point deficit to take a 20-16 lead with less than 5 minutes to go when Ben Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace for a 25-yard score.
Pittsburgh’s defense held once and the Steelers moved in range for Shaun Suisham to attempt a 47-yard field goal that could have pushed their lead to seven.
A delay of game penalty, however, pushed Pittsburgh back 5 yards and the Steelers opted to punt.
Flacco, who fumbled midway through the fourth quarter to set up Roethlisberger’s strike to Wallace, atoned during a brilliant 13-play drive.
He converted a fourth-and-1 at the Pittsburgh 49 with less than a minute to go to keep Baltimore’s hopes alive and Smith made up for a drop with the biggest play of his young career.
It was sweet vindication for the Ravens, who watched two of their three previous seasons end on the same field.
Baltimore moved into a tie with Cincinnati atop the AFC North.
Roethlisberger finished with 330 yards passing to become the first Pittsburgh quarterback to top 300 in three consecutive games.
Bal—FG Cundiff 18
Pit—FG Suisham 36
Bal—FG Cundiff 43
Pit—FG Suisham 30
Bal—FG Cundiff 51
Bal—Rice 4 run (Cundiff kick)
Pit—Mendenhall 1 run (Suisham kick)
Pit—Wallace 25 pass from Roethlisberger (Suisham kick)
Bal—T.Smith 26 pass from Flacco (Cundiff kick)
|Total Net Yards||356||392|
|Time of Possession||33:59||26:01|
RUSHING—Baltimore, Rice 18-43, R.Williams 9-24. Pittsburgh, Mendenhall 13-52, Roethlisberger 3-13, Cotchery 1-3, Redman 3-2.
PASSING—Baltimore, Flacco 28-47-0-300. Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger 20-37-1-330.
RECEIVING—Baltimore, Boldin 7-88, T.Smith 5-71, Pitta 5-46, Rice 5-43, L.Williams 2-28, Dickson 2-8, R.Williams 1-11, Leach 1-5. Pittsburgh, A.Brown 5-109, Miller 5-73, Wallace 4-68, Cotchery 3-44, Johnson 1-25, Redman 1-8, Mendenhall 1-3.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Baltimore, Cundiff 40 (WR).
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Back with my day-after post following Gonzaga’s 92-66 blowout over Portland on Thursday. My game story, as well as articles in the Oregonian and Portland Tribune. More below.