Flacco leads Ravens to 23-20 stunner in Pittsburgh

November 07, 2011 | Drew Forrester

Flacco leads Ravens to 23-20 stunner in Pittsburgh

That demon has been exorcised.

Finally.

With a January home playoff game possibly at stake, Joe Flacco drove the Ravens 92 yards in 2:09 late in the game and Torrey Smith’s touchdown catch with eight seconds remaining gave Baltimore an improbable 23-20 win on Sunday night.

The victory marked the first time in the John Harbaugh era that Baltimore beat Pittsburgh at Heinz Field with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. It also gave the Ravens a season sweep over the Steelers and dropped Pittsburgh to 6-3 overall.

The game-winning drive negated another heroic performance from Roethlisberger, who brought the Steelers back from a 16-6 fourth quarter deficit and gave Pittsburgh’s defense a chance to win the game.

But it didn’t work out that way.

Flacco managed the clock expertly in the game’s final two minutes, moving Baltimore down the field using throws across the middle and along the sideline. After a deep throw just grazed Torrey Smith’s hands with 45 seconds to play, Flacco went back to the rookie wide receiver, this time in the right corner of the end zone, and he hauled it in for his 4th touchdown reception of the season.

The victory in Pittsburgh included a masterful night from offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who utilized all of the team’s pass catching threats, including tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson in tight space across the middle. For the second straight game, Pitta was used in short yardage situations with great success, including three straight 3rd down catches in the first half.

“Baltimore earned this game tonight, they made the plays at the end,” said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin afterwards.

Joe Flacco made the plays, alright.

And in doing so, he might have kept the Ravens from having to making another trip to Pittsburgh this January.

For once, perhaps, it will be the Steelers having to hit the road in the post-season. If they make it, that is.

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18 Comments For This Post

  1. JJ Fozz Says:

    THANK GOD FINALLY!

    How many times did I watch this game and know the outcome?

    Flacco lost that deer in the headlights look and got it done. His celebration with Cam and Ray on the sidelines was truly memorable.

    This team came a long, long way tonight. Big gamble on sticking with Torrey Smith on that last series, but this is what pays off in a month or two.

    Honestly, this was bigger than the Super Bowl, at least to me.

  2. Tom McIrish Says:

    Sooooo glad you were wrong about the Ravens not being about to beat the Stillers in Pittsburg!!! As I am sure are you are too!!!

  3. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    I have already noted elsewhere that Harbaugh and Cameron may be the only two people on the planet who apparently cannot SEE how much more effective and efficient Joe Flacco is in the “no huddle” and “shotgun”. He was absolutely brilliant in “crunch time” again tonight and one has to wonder why they don’t tailor the offense to suit his particular skills and talent for the entire game instead of only when it’s necessary! It doesn’t get much sweeter than sweeping the Steelers in their “house”. As the late, great Chuck Thompson would have said: “Go to war, Miss Agnes”!!!

  4. Franchise Says:

    Ravens Win at the Ketchup Bottle in Heinz Field despite Walt Coleman’s Crew dialing up the fix on the first play from scrimmage on the Ray Rice TD scamper called back on a Torre Smith phantom hold.

    Irony had Torre Smith win it on a TD catch from Joe “cool” Flacco after a 92 yard drive.

    Yes, the Ravens did win at the Ketchup Bottle and proved they can win at Heinz versus Big Ben!!!

    Regards,

    Always Keep The Faith In Your Baltimore Ravens

  5. Franchise Says:

    Ravens Win at the Ketchup Bottle 23-20 and Flacco defeats Big Ben!!!

    Regards,

    Walt Coleman’s Crew

  6. Nick Says:

    Flacco now can receive a pass for life from me – and I would beat on him like a drum. I was wrong, but I am glad am I wrong.

  7. Christian Says:

    After having no confidence on our second to last drive, for some odd reason I had a little optimism, before the first play of that drive I was smiling, I just had a feeling…though I was sure it was more me hoping than believing, anyways WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WE FINALLY DID IT!!!

  8. Lamont Says:

    Great game by the Ravens. Flacco is coming of age and the young talent is helping to make a balanced team. This could be a changing of the guard, not only in the AFC north, but the conference period. The Ravens could have a long run of success for years to come. Go Ravens

  9. John in Westminster Says:

    Two words: Joe Kool

  10. charlie Says:

    it’s one chapter in a long book, but thank heaven this one has a great ending. now, joe & co. know that they can do it, and maybe they will next time. . . in the playoffs. this is worth enjoying for awhile!!!!

  11. unitastoberry Says:

    Nice game. Lets get home field now and keep Joe in that shotgun. Torry Smith can beat any corner in this league. Lets Roll!

  12. vreedy76 Says:

    Drew,

    Good to see you walk that bridge with a smile for once. Leave Clark at home from now on.

    I think the offense has an identity and a formula to be successful finally. Call the play quick, let Flacco and the line get set with some time to read the defense. You see it everywhere in the league now.

    I love Pagano’s defense. It seems Reed is playing a bit more conservative and supporting the corners a lot more this year. Hopefully a trip west doesn’t have an impact next week.

  13. Howard in Pikesville Says:

    Let this be a lesson to the play callers on the sidelines: Put the ball in Joe Flacco’s hands, and let him play. This was a monumental performance with just over 2 minutes left, and a monumental win which should have far-reaching benefits for us as the season plays out. Not to mention the confidence instilled in rookie Torrey Smith and the validation of Joe Flacco as the Man who can get the job done. I was stunned last night…I’m stunned now…but very, very happy!!

  14. over40Don Says:

    Drew, During game I followed NST’s twitter posts on WNST.net. I was cussin’ you big time when you said you were heading down when we were up I think 16-6, like it was all over. There was an awfull lot of time left and felt you were jinxing the Ravens. But it all worked out in the end. BTW was it intentenial that a post kept reading, “should I remind everydody I picked 20-16 Pittsburg” over and over again????

    Cameron seems to have found that his playbook has more running plays and short passes over the middle or awawy from the sidelines. We’re undefeated if he had figured it out easlier.

  15. Rain Man Says:

    The capstone to that final drive was when Torrey Smith caught that touchdown pass in the back corner but the play just before it, the pass to Anquan Boldin that went off his hands at the 10, is what made the help over the top cheat to the middle. Even with that pass falling incomplete, 51 of those last 92 yards were Flacco-to-Boldin.

  16. frank Says:

    get over the sweep we shall never beat the zebras until we can challenge the constant shittsburgh calls

  17. PghSteve Says:

    Kudos to the Ravens for a well deserved victory. Joe did a “Roethlisberger’ on that last drive and made the Ravens the team to beat in the AFC. Hope the Steelers get another crack at the Ravens.

    And what’s up with some of the complaining about the officials on here? This from fans of a team (the Ravens) that has gotten the benefit of 5 Pass Interference calls in the end zone the past 2 weeks? The Ravens won for goodness sake. The fact is that Smith was holding on the first play and the refs called it. There is likely holding on every play in the NFL. Certainly more blatant was the non-call on Ray Lewis’ (unintentional) helmet-to-helmet hit on Hines Ward. Those are supposedly the kinds of hits the NFL is trying to stop. But the refs missed it and the game went on. That non-call did not cost the Steelers a victory; they lost because Flacco was superb in the last 2 minutes and the Steelers defense could not make a stop when they needed it most.

    Another note, has anyone noticed that the top defense (as far as yards per game) in the NFL is now the…Houston Texans!

  18. Liam Says:

    Did I tell Drew?! We’re younger and faster this year and the Steelers haven’t figured out how to defend us.

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