Defense can't hold off late Pittsburgh rally

Defense can't hold off late Pittsburgh rally
December 3, 2012, 1:45 am
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The Ravens made a lot of good plays on defense Sunday, coming up with three Pittsburgh turnovers in this AFC North battle. In the end, though, the Ravens couldn’t do enough to stop the Steelers.

After leading much of the game, the Ravens watched the Steelers score the game’s final 10 points, including Shaun Suisham’s 42-yard field goal as time expired that gave Pittsburgh a come-from-behind 23-20 victory. That ended Baltimore's home winning streak at 15 games. Pittsburgh was the last team to beat the Ravens at home, and that was two years ago.

 The Ravens shut down third-string quarterback Charlie Batch throughout the first half. He missed on a bunch of passes, including his overthrow of a wide open receiver in the end zone in the final minute. But the veteran slowly came to life in the second half, and the Pittsburgh air attack also awoke as the Steelers scored 17 points in the final two quarters.

“[He] played very well,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He did a good job. Charlie’s always been a good quarterback. We had a lot of respect for him going into the game.”

Batch completed 25 of 36 for 276 yards and one touchdown. The Steelers were able to move the ball throughout the second half and put pressure on the Ravens, something they couldn't do in the first half. 

“They made enough plays to win the game, so you have to tip your hat to them,” Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin said.

But Batch and the Steelers needed to overcome the three turnovers the Ravens forced that derailed the Steelers a few times.

Corey Graham picked off a pass from wide receiver Antonio Brown in the first half. Brown throws left-handed and tried to throw back across the field to the right side after Batch handed him the ball on a reverse-- and the ball hung long enough for Graham to catch it.

Joe Flacco threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin four plays later for a 13-3. The Steelers’ offense got in gear after that but still needed to overcome two turnovers. Emmanuel Sanders caught a Batch pass over the middle but fumbled with no one near him. The ball rolled away, and Ed Reed recovered it.

In the fourth quarter, Reed stepped up again. He made a leaping interception of a Batch pass in the end zone that was intended for Heath Miller that preserved the Ravens’ 20-13 lead with 10:59 left in the game.

The Steelers then took advantage of a Joe Flacco fumble to get the ball in good field position and get a short drive for the tying touchdown. Batch then guided Pittsburgh on a long 12-play drive that ate up the final 6 minutes, 14 seconds.

“I’m not sure how they were hurting us,” linebacker Paul Kruger said. “It just seemed we were out of rhythm. They were making the plays they needed to make, and they were hitting us right where they could. We just have to go back and made those corrections and finish strong.”