Pittsburgh 13 – Baltimore 10
The Pittsburgh Steelers have the inside track to the AFC North division title and a first round bye, defeating the Baltimore Ravens 13-10 on Sunday night in dramatic fashion.
Pittsburgh got a gutsy performance from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and game changer moment from star safety Troy Polamalu.
Polamalu has the ability to change the complexion of a game with one play and with Pittsburgh trailing 10-6 with under 4 minutes remaining in the game, Polamalu forced a Joe Flacco fumble on an all-out blitz and LaMarr Woodley recovered the ball and Pittsburgh took over 1st and 10 at the Baltimore 9 yard line with 3:12 remaining in the game.
Roethlisberger then took over from there, avoiding a sack and fumbling on a 1st and goal play as Terrell Suggs had him in his grasp.
It was a tremendous play as Roethlisberger was able to throw the ball away and two plays later, hit Isaac Redman for a 9 yard touchdown pass.
Roethlisberger made a great read against the Ravens blitz and Redman ran through Dawan Landry at the 5 yard line and through Jarrett Johnson near the end zone for the score to give Pittsburgh a 13-10 lead with 2:51 remaining in the game.
The Ravens had plenty of time left and threatened to force overtime moving the ball 51 yards and to the Steelers 31 yard line but with the wind to their back, Baltimore went for it on 4th and 2 and Joe Flacco bounced the ball incomplete turning the ball over on downs with 33 seconds remaining in the game as Pittsburgh sealed the victory.
“That’s Steelers-Ravens, ” head coach Mike Tomlin said in his post-game comments. “That’s why we believe that’s the No. 1 rivalry in football. We’re fortunate to come out on top.”
Flacco was 17 of 33 for 266 yards and a touchdown in the game. He is now 2-5 all-time against Pittsburgh and 0-5 against Ben Roethlisberger.
Shaun Suisham was 2-for-2 on field goals and made a 45 yard field goal to remain perfect from 40+ yards with the Steelers.
Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 45 yards to surpass the 1,000 yard rushing mark. Pittsburgh only managed 54 rushing yards in the game.
Mike Wallace led the Steelers with 5 receptions for 76 yards. Rookie’s Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown came up big in the passing game. Sanders had 3 catches for 49 yards and Brown added 3 receptions for 26 yards.
Tight end David Johnson also got involved, making a 25 yard reception, converting a 4th and 2 with a 6 yard reception and later added another 6 yard reception to finish the game with 3 catches for 37 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, James Farrior led the Steelers with 7 tackles and also added a sack. He was very active, especially on the pass rush.
With the win, Pittsburgh improves to 9-3 on the season and end the season with 3 of 4 games at home as things shape up nicely to earn a first round bye. Pittsburgh has a one game lead against Baltimore.
The win did come with its consequences. Heath Miller was knocked out of the game with a concussion in the 3rd quarter after he was leveled by Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain with a helmet to helmet hit.
Miller was a defenseless receiver as the hit came about 3 seconds after the ball went off Miller’s hands. However, a penalty was not called on the field, although the NFL immediately said that a penalty should have been called.
On the offensive line, Flozell Adams exited the game with what is feared to be a high ankle sprain.
Daniel Sepulveda suffered a knee injury and kicker Shaun Suisham handled punting duties.