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(Sunday, October 3rd)
Final Score: Baltimore 17, Pittsburgh 14
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Joe Flacco moved the offense 40 yards in 23 seconds and hit T.J. Houshmandzadeh at the back of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown with 32 seconds to play, as Baltimore handed the Steelers their first loss of the season in dramatic fashion, 17-14, in the latest installment of this fierce rivalry from Heinz Field.
Joe Flacco went 4-for-4 on the drive and made his lone touchdown pass count in answering a go-ahead Pittsburgh score earlier in the fourth. He ended 24-of-37 for 256 yards.
Willis McGahee ran for the other score, picking up 39 yards on 14 carries for a hobbled Ray Rice (knee) as the Ravens (3-1) made it two straight victories against division members since losing to Cincinnati in Week 2. Baltimore topped Cleveland last week, 24-17.
Rashard Mendenhall scored both Steeler touchdowns and picked up 79 tough yards on 25 carries while Charlie Batch led a 93-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter and ended 12-of-21 for 141 yards.
The Steelers (3-1) were seeking their first 4-0 start since 1979.
"This one hurts a little more, divisional game. Seems like everything fell into place. We had the opportunity to take control of this division," said Steelers receiver Hines Ward. "The way it ended, it hurts all the guys."
Batch, filling in at quarterback for presumably the final time with Ben Roethlisberger's four-game suspension ending Monday, took Pittsburgh 93 yards for the go-ahead score on its initial touch of the fourth quarter.
The Steelers were trailing 10-7 before shaving nearly seven minutes off the clock with the 13-play excursion. Batch was clutch with two third-down completions to Heath Miller and Antwaan Randle El to keep the chains moving deep into Ravens territory.
Mendenhall ran the ball three times in four plays inside the 26-yard line and scored on a seven-yard sprint to the right pylon with 7:14 to play for a 14-10 Steeler lead.
Baltimore came right back with a drive that yielded a fresh set of downs inside the 10-yard line, but the Steelers' defense tightened and forced Flacco into three incompletions while stuffing Rice on second down for a turnover on downs with 2:40 to go.
Pittsburgh had to punt it back to the visitors with 55 seconds remaining and Flacco cooly moved the offense with precision on a pair of short passes to Anquan Boldin and a 10-yard strike to Houshmandzadeh.
Flacco went again to Houshmandzadeh, who got behind the defense to haul in the score while streaking toward the back of the end zone, leaving Pittsburgh with just 28 seconds to answer.
Ray Lewis sealed the outcome with a pick of Batch on the ensuing play, and Flacco kneeled to kill the clock for a big Baltimore win.
"We put together two great drives at the end of the game. We were fortunate to get the ball back [for] the last one just because of our defense," Flacco said. "But I felt like we got in a little groove. Started off with a nice easy completion and just got it going from there."
The Ravens' defense didn't force a turnover until the final seconds but surrendered just 210 yards after entering the game giving up the fewest yards in the league (244.3 ypg).
Baltimore held Pittsburgh off the scoreboard on two third-quarter stands following turnovers inside their own 33. Jeff Reed missed on field goals both times in the scoreless frame.
Mendenhall got Pittsburgh on the board with two minutes left in the first quarter, bowling his way across the goal line for a one-yard score after Batch hit Randle El for a 34-yard completion at the one.
The seven-play, 64-yard drive stood up as the only score until Baltimore put together a solid 83-yard trek that ended on a bruising nine-yard TD run by McGahee less than two minutes into the second quarter.
A pair of punts put the Ravens back on the move for the final drive of the first half. A lengthy 14-play series got the ball to the Pittsburgh five-yard line with 25 seconds to go, but an offensive holding call set them back and three incompletions led to Billy Cundiff's 33-yard field goal and a 10-7 game at the half.
Derrick Mason hauled in six passes for 80 yards, Boldin caught seven balls for 68 yards and Houshmandzadeh totaled 49 yards on three receptions...Pittsburgh had forced an NFL-best 10 turnovers through the first three weeks...The Steelers lost for the first time at home against Baltimore under head coach Mike Tomlin (4-1)...Last year's home-and-home set resulted in a split.
10/03 19:06:15 ET
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