NFL: Steelers 23, Ravens 20
By Alan Robinson
PITTSBURGH ó Jeff Reed kicked a 46-yard field goal in overtime and the Pittsburgh Steelers overcame a 10-point deficit, numerous injuries and a late Baltimore comeback to outlast the Ravens 23-20 on Monday night.
Reed’s third field goal ended a back-and-forth game in which the Steelers (3-1) were down by 10 late in the third quarter, rallied, couldn’t hold a seven-point lead, then found a way to win despite being without their top three running backs.
The Ravens (2-1), losing their seventh in their last eight games in Pittsburgh, won the important overtime coin toss but were backed up by two penalties and a sack and Sam Koch had to punt out of the end zone.
Then, on third-and-8, Ben Roethlisberger found fourth-string running back Mewelde Moore ó playing in that situation only because of the injuries ó on a key 24-yard swing pass for a first down at the Ravens’ 31. On third-and-14, Moore made a 7-yard catch to the 28 to give Reed the extra yardage he needed to make it.
The Steelers turned the 10-point deficit into a 17-13 lead in a 15-second span in the third quarter, only to have rookie quarterback Joe Flacco of the Ravens hit Derrick Mason for 35 yards ahead of Le’Ron McClain’s 2-yard TD run that tied it at 20 with 4:02 remaining.
Before then, Pittsburgh appeared to have overcome three mostly dreadful quarters in a momentum-turning span of three plays, and Reed added a 19-yard field goal to make it 20-13.
With only one first down since the first quarter, the Steelers got a second when Baltimore’s Jarret Johnson unwisely drew a personal foul penalty for an out-of-bounds hit following Nate Washington’s 8-yard run. With his best field position since the first quarter, Roethlisberger ó sacked and harassed by Baltimore’s defense most of the game ó found Santonio Holmes for a 38-yard touchdown pass three plays later on a third-and-4.
On Baltimore’s next play after the kickoff, Flacco ó who had impeccably managed the game until then in only his third career start ó fumbled while being sacked by James Harrison, Woodley scooped up the ball and scored from the 7.
This time, the Steelers drove for Reed’s 49-yard field goal on their opening possession, then could barely gain a yard until late in the third.