Ravens 23, Steelers 20

The Sports Xchange
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By John Perrotto

The Sports Xchange

PITTSBURGH -- Torrey Smith went from goat to hero at just the right time for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night.

The rookie wide receiver caught a game-winning 26-yard pass from Joe Flacco with eight seconds left as the Ravens rallied for a 23-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field after blowing a 10-point lead in the fouyrth quarter.

Smith was having a miserable night until his last-second heroics capped a 13-play, 92-yard drive.

Three plays before his winning catch, Smith let a potential 37-yard touchdown pass glance off his fingers. On the first play from scrimmage, Smith was called for a holding penalty that negated what would have been a 76-yard touchdown run by Ray Rice.

Baltimore is now tied with Cincinnati for first place in the AFC North at 6-2. Pittsburgh dropped a half-game behind at 6-3.

The Ravens seemed to have the upper hand when Rice Rice scored on a 4-yard run with 4:27 to go in the third quarter. The run gave Baltimore a 16-6 lead and capped a 12-play 71-yard drive that came after linebacker Terrell Suggs intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass.

However, Pittsburgh answered 28 seconds into the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run by Rashard Mendenhall that closed the deficit to 16-13. The score culminated an 11-play, 80-yard march.

Steelers' linebacker James Harrison, back in action after missing four games with a broken eye socket, then stopped a Ravens' drive that moved into Pittsburgh territory by sacking Joe Flacco and forcing a fumble. William Gay recovered at the 42.

Six plays and 58 plays later, Roethlisberger threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace to put the Steelers ahead 20-16.

Baltimore punted on its next possession and Steelers then drove to the Ravens' 30.

However, on fourth down, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin eschewed a 47-yard field goal attempt that would have given his team a seven-point lead and punted. The move backfired when the Ravens drove for the winning touchdown.

Flacco threw for 300 yards and one touchdown as he completed 28 of 47 passes. Anquan Boldin had seven receptions for 88 yards.

Roethlisberger became the first player in Steelers' history to throw for over 300 yards in three straight games as he finished with 330 and one score while completing 20 of 37 passes. He passed for 321 yards in a victory over Arizona on Oct. 20 and had a 350-yard effort in a win over New England on Oct. 27.

Antonio Brown had five catches for 109 yards.

The first half was a battle of field goals, not surprisingly as the games are usually low-scoring when these defensive-minded rivals meet.

Baltimore took a 9-6 halftime lead when Billy Cundiff nailed a 51-yarder as time expired. That came after Shaun Suisham's 36-yard kick had drawn Pittsburgh into a 6-6 tie with 1:05 remaining.

The Ravens opened the game with what seemed to be a big play when Rice burst off tackle for an apparent 76-yard score but Smith's holding penalty wiped out the score.

Baltimore wound up driving 75 yards in 14 plays to the Steelers' 1 but settled for an 18-yard field goal by Cundiff after having a first-and-goal at the 1 following a pass interference penalty in the end zone on Gay.

After Cundiff missed wide right from 40 yards, Pittsburgh tied it at 3-3 on a 36-yard field goal by Suisham 55 seconds into the second quarter.

Baltimore countered with a 10-play drive that ended with Cundiff hitting a 43-yarder that put the Ravens back on top 6-3 with 9:28 left in the half.

Game notes: Steelers WR Hines Ward did not return after suffering what the team called "a stinger" after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Ravens LB Ray Lewis in the first quarter while attempting to catch a pass. Ward missed the previous week's game, a victory over New England, with a sprained ankle. ... Harrison had solo eight tackles and three sacks after missing four games with a broken eye socket. ... CB Lardarius Webb topped Baltimore with six solo tackles. ... S Bernard Pollard led Baltimore with seven tackles. ... Rice didn't have a run longer than 10 yards after the first play was wiped out and finished with just 43 yards on 18 carries.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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