Under the circumstances, Dennis Dixon put on a good performance throwing a 33 yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes, and running for a 24 yard touchdown to put Pittsburgh up 17-14 in the fourth quarter with less than 6:24 remaining in the fourth quarter.
In regulation, Dixon did everything the Steelers could have expected and surprisingly put the Steelers in position to win the game but the Steelers defense was unable to hold off the Ravens from tying the game.
The Ravens went 84 yards on 11 plays, that included a 4th and 5 conversion on their own 46 yard line to kick the game tying field goal with just under two minutes remaining in the game.
On the key 4th and 5 play, Joe Flacco connected with Ray Rice for a 44 yard pass to set up a first and goal. The defense talked after the game how once again they were unable to come up with a big play. It’s been a common theme for the Steelers.
On the Ray Rice 44 yard reception, the Ravens got a favorable match up as Rice was one-on-one against Steelers linebacker James Farrior.
Lawrence Timmons who had an excellent game, attempted to cover Rice as he went in motion but was called off by Farrior.
The Steelers defense though rebounded and held the Ravens to a field goal.
In the second half, Dixon struggled against the zone and threw a costly interception in overtime as rookie Paul Kruger intercepted Dixon to set up a 29-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff with 6:42 left in overtime as the Ravens prevailed 20-17 in overtime.
Dixon was 12 of 26 for 145 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Dixon also ran for 27 yards and 1 touchdown.
Dixon’s go-to-receiver was Santonio Holmes who led the Steelers 6 receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown.
The Steelers also got a strong performance from running back Rashard Mendenhall who rushed for 95 yards on 24 carries and added 2 receptions for 22 yards.
The loss was a serious blow for the Steelers who now fall to 6-5 on the season. Key losses to mediocre teams like Kansas City and Chicago have put the Steelers in the position where every game the rest of the way will be a must-win.
Much of the talk after the game was about Dennis Dixon and Hines Ward who said prior to the game that the locker room is divided on whether Ben Roethlisberger should have played.
Mike Tomlin indicated after the game that it was suggested by a concussion expert doctor on Saturday that Roethlisberger shouldn’t play as Roethlisberger had headaches with exertion throughout the week.
Dixon drew plenty of praise from his teammates and Ward tried to play the spin game regarding his comments about Roethlisberger.
Ward was asked if Roethlisberger would have given the Steelers a better chance to win and claimed that he didn’t know.
Baltimore (6-5) moves ahead of Pittsburgh in the wild card hunt due to the Ravens owning the head-to-head tiebreaker. The two teams meet again on December 27th in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh falls to 1-3 in the division and suffered their 4th conference loss.