BALTIMORE (AP) - Because there's still some life in the 37-year-old
arm of Charlie Batch, the Pittsburgh Steelers remain alive in the AFC
Batch directed a 61-yard drive in the closing minutes and
Shaun Suisham kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired to give the
Steelers a 23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
without injured Ben Roethlisberger for a third straight week, the
Steelers turned to Batch for the second game in a row. The 15-year
veteran went 25 for 36 for 276 yards, threw a touchdown and rallied the
Steelers in a must-win game against their hated division rivals.
is big. It was another opportunity for me to come out here and start,
which is rare right now," said Batch, who was elevated to the top of the
depth chart after backup Byron Leftwich was injured against Baltimore
two weeks ago
"To be able to go on the road and do something that
nobody outside of our locker room thought that we could do is big,"
Batch said. .
Especially after Batch and the Steelers committed eight turnovers last week in a loss to Cleveland.
knew going into it that I had to play better," Batch said. "I had to go
out there and lead this offense the way that I know I can. I felt the
receivers did a great job of getting open, the offensive line did a
great job of protecting. I was really able to set my feet and just play
ball and have fun."
"Big necessary win for us tonight in a hostile environment. We don't take that lightly," coach Mike Tomlin said.
(7-5) snapped a two-game losing streak and kept alive its slim hopes of
overtaking Baltimore (9-3) in the AFC North. The teams have split their
games this season, with each winning by three points.
Seven of the last eight regular-season games between the teams have been decided by that same margin.
"That was a typical Pittsburgh-Baltimore game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It's amazing how it works out that way.
trailed 13-3 in the first half and 20-13 in the fourth quarter before
coming back. Batch missed a wide open Mike Wallace in the end zone near
the end of the first half, but the cagey quarterback more than made up
for it after halftime.
The Ravens could have clinched a playoff
berth with a victory. Instead, Baltimore had its 15-game home winning
streak snapped and also lost for the first time in 13 games against
division foes. Baltimore's last defeat at home was against Pittsburgh in
"This game didn't determine the AFC North. We
still can go ahead and win the division," said running back Ray Rice,
who ran for 78 yards in only 12 carries. "We'll go ahead and try to get
over this loss."
Batch outplayed Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco,
who went 16 for 34 for 188 yards and fueled Pittsburgh's comeback by
losing a fumble in the fourth quarter.
"I think we missed a couple
of opportunities early to really take a hold of this game even more,"
Flacco said. "I thought we could have put up 30 or 40 points today and
we didn't. I think that's a reflection that we hurt ourselves."
Steelers gave the ball away three times. The Ravens converted two of
the takeaways into touchdowns, and the third - a leaping interception by
Ed Reed in the end zone - kept a 20-13 lead intact with 10:59 left.
Pittsburgh got the ball back, however, when James Harrison forced a fumble by Flacco at the 27.
came around hit my wrist and hit the ball and just got it out," Flacco
said. "I wish I could have held on but wasn't able to."
Batch threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller to tie it with 7:24 to go.
next time Pittsburgh got the ball back, Batch showed his poise with a
beat-the-clock march. The key play in the final drive was a 15-yard
completion to Wallace on a third-and-7.
After generating only 93
yards in offense in the first half, the Steelers opened the third
quarter with a 78-yard touchdown drive to pull even at 13. Batch threw a
43-yard pass to Miller before Jonathan Dwyer scored on a 16-yard run.
in the quarter, Batch connected with Emmanuel Sanders near midfield
with no defender in sight. But Sanders inexplicably lost his grip on the
football after taking two steps, and the Ravens recovered on the
The Ravens turned the miscue into a 20-13 lead.
Flacco completed a 19-yard pass to Dennis Pitta before Rice took a
handoff, veered right, then broke left and outside for a 34-yard score.
bickering between these two familiar foes began with the opening
kickoff, when several players had to be separated after Baltimore's
Jacoby Jones downed the ball for a touchback.
With the Ravens up
6-3, Flacco threw an up-for-grabs floater that was intercepted by Ryan
Clark near midfield. Pittsburgh gave it right back, though, when wide
receiver Antonio Brown took a handoff and ran left before throwing a
pass across the field that was picked off by Corey Graham.
didn't waste the gift. Flacco connected twice with Anquan Boldin during
a four-play, 69-yard drive, including a 31-yard touchdown throw just
beyond Allen's reach to make it 13-3.