13 - 9 Final
  for this game

Steelers rally for win over Ravens

Dec 15, 2008 - 3:11 AM
By Rich Dubroff PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BALTIMORE (Ticker) -- In five seasons, Ben Roethlisberger has a Super Bowl ring and three AFC North titles. Now, he has a legendary drive.

Roethlisberger took the Pittsburgh Steelers on a 92-yard Sunday drive, which ended with a disputed four-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds to play. The dramatic score gave Pittsburgh a thrilling 13-9 win over the Baltimore Ravens, and gave the Steelers the North division title.

"It was a good drive. We had some big plays," Roethlisberger said . "To clinch the division, to clinch home field, to clinch a (first-round) bye. It's pretty special."

The Ravens had a 9-6 lead, and were threatening to put the game away when they drove to the Pittsburgh 27. After Joe Flacco was sacked, Baltimore was forced to punt, and the Steelers (11-3), who have won five straight were forced to start on their own 8.

Roethlisberger completed seven passes on the crucial drive, three each to Hines Ward and Nate Washington.

Ward's 10-yard reception brought the ball to the 4. On third down, Roethlisberger found Holmes for the game's only touchdown, a score that was only confirmed after a long replay review.

"He had two feet down and completed the catch with control of the ball breaking the plane of the goal line," referee Walt Coleman told a pool reporter.

Holmes was certain he had scored.

"I knew I was across the line. I pulled the ball in once I caught it into a tuck," he said.

Roethlisberger completed 22-of-40 passes for 246 yards and was sacked three times and Ward, who's been with him throughout his career said it was his quarterback's best performance.

"He did a great job," Ward said. "On the last drive, Ben had some trust in make to make plays, and I came through at the end."

The Ravens (9-5) had won three in a row and held the Steelers without a touchdown until it mattered most in a game that can be best described as ferocious.

"Ridiculously tough," was Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin's assessment. "It was a big-time regular season football game. It was about as big as a regular season football game can get,"

"This was your typical Ravens-Steelers football game. I've got cuts and bruises," Roethlisberger said. "It was hard-fought and physical, just like everyone thought it would be."

There was just one touchdown, but there were countless hard hits.

"It was a disappointing loss," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "We wanted to get them stopped. We wanted them to kick a field goal. We wanted to do a lot of things that we didn't get done."

Flacco was sacked twice and was generally ineffective. He threw for just 110 yards, completing 11-of-28 passes and was intercepted twice.

"They're the No. 1 defense in the league statistically," Flacco said. "They came after us just the way we planned."

Pittsburgh came into the game holding opponents to 241.9 yards a game. They held the Ravens to 202.

"We wanted to come in here and shut down their running game," linebacker James Harrison said. "We wanted to put their quarterback in some tough situations, and make him beat us."

The Ravens play in Dallas next Saturday, and their competition for the final wild card spot will come from the AFC East where New York, New England and Miami also have 9-5 records.

"We have to keep going There are two more games left. We can go in 11-5," Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis said. "You take a loss like you take a win - strap it up, short week -let's go to Dallas."

Before the decisive touchdown, the only scoring was on field goals, three by Baltimore's Matt Stover and two from Pittsburgh's Jeff Reed.

Baltimore took a 3-0 lead on Stover's 27-yard field goal with 12:30 to play in the second quarter. The play was set up by Jim Leonhard's 46-yard punt return.

Pittsburgh tied it on Reed's 31-yard field goal on the next drive. The Steelers drove the ball 68 yards in 14 plays.

Stover's 26-yard field goal with 49 seconds to play in the first half gave Baltimore a 6-3 lead at the half.

After a 56-yard punt by Sam Koch backed the Steelers to their own 1-yard line, Roethlisberger passed on first down. Holmes caught it, and was hit by Samari Rolle. He fumbled, and Ed Reed recovered on the Pittsburgh 16.

Three plays later, Stover converted on a 28-yarder to give the Ravens a 9-3 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Steelers drove to the Baltimore 12, but the drive stalled and Reed hit on his second field goal-- this time from 30 yards to cut the Ravens' lead to 9-6.

The Steelers play at Tennessee next Sunday. The Titans were upset in Houston, and currently hold a one-game lead over Pittsburgh for the AFC's best record.

"We've got some other things we want to do," linebacker James Farrior said. "We're the number two seed now, and we'd like to get that number one seed."