It wasn't always pretty, but the Steelers left Baltimore with a huge 23-20 win over the Ravens Sunday evening.
The win keeps the Steelers in position to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team. (The Bengals also won, but the Steelers' remaining schedule and October 21 win over Cincinnati should give them the edge on a Wild Card spot.)
The Steelers ended the third quarter down 20-13, thanks in part to an ugly fumble by Emmanuel Sanders with miles of open field in front of him. It didn't get any better early in the fourth quarter, either, as Ed Reed picked off Charlie Batch in the Steelers' first possession.
Three plays later, though, James Harrison forced a fumble by Joe Flacco, and Ziggy Hood recovered it at the Ravens' 27. That set up a seven-yard touchdown pass from Batch to Heath Miller, as Miller dove near the pylon and managed to reach the ball to the goal line.
The defense forced a Ravens punt, giving the Steelers the ball back with 6:14 to play. Batch, the Steelers' third-string quarterback, stepped up, completing a series of short passes. He also got help from a huge roughing the passer penalty on Paul Kruger. That put the Steelers in field-goal range. They were able to run a few more plays after that, but called them very conservatively, knowing how reliable Shaun Suisham has been this season. And sure enough, Suisham came on and kicked a 42-yarder as time expired.
It was a typically strong performance by the Steelers defense, but Suisham (who played an important tactical role in this one while kicking three field goals of 40-plus yards) and some other less-heralded players deserve credit. The offensive line generally did a great job protecting Batch, and Batch himself was much better than expected, particularly in the second half. Batch finished 25-of-36 for 276 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also made a crucial, hustling block on an impressive touchdown run by Jonathan Dwyer in the third quarter. Miller also had a big game, catching five passes for 97 yards and a score.