That demon has been exorcised.
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.