Share This Page

Suisham's last-second field goal lifts Steelers to big victory over Ravens

| Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, 5:56 p.m.
Steelers tight end Heath Miller stretches the ball to the pylon for the game-tying, fourth-quarter touchdown in front of the Ravens' Corey Graham on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham celebrates his game-winning field goal to beat the Ravens on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
The Steelers' Cortez Allen breaks up a pass intended for Baltimore receiver Torrey Smith during the second quarter Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
The Steelers' Ramon Foster hugs Heath Miller after his fourth-quarter touchdown against the Ravens on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
The Steelers' Ike Taylor breaks up a pass intended for Baltimore receiver Torrey Smith during the first quarter Sunday Dec. 2, 2012 at M&T Bank Stadium. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Isaac Redman is brought down by the Ravens' Bernard Pollard during the second quarter Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch looks toward Heath Miller before they connected on the game-tying, fourth-quarter touchdown pass against the Ravens on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Chaz Palla
Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham connects on the winning field goal to beat the Ravens on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers tight end Heath Miller turns upfield for the tying touchdown in front of the Ravens' Corey Graham on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium.
Christopher Horner
Baltimore's Anquan Boldin scores a touchdown past the Steelers' Cortez Allen and Ryan Clark during the second quarter Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
Steelers tight end Heath Miller catches a pass in front of Baltimore's Corey Graham during the second quarter Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review The Steelers' Troy Polamalu kneels with Ike Taylor before the start of the game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium.
Steelers linebacker James Harrison sacks Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, causing him to fumble in the fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
Steelers receiver Mike Wallace catches a pass between Baltimore's Bernard Pollard (31) and Jameel McClain during the second quarter Sunday Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Steelers tight end Heath Miller runs for fourth-quarter yardage past the Ravens' Bernard Pollard and Abert McClellan (50) on Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Ryan Clark and Curtis Brown bring down the Ravens' Dennis Pitta during the third quarter Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in Baltimore.
Christopher Horner
The Steelers' Cortez Allen breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Baltimore receiver Torrey Smith during the third quarter Sunday Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
The Steelers' Ziggy Hood recovers a fumble by Baltimore's Joe Flacco in the fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at M&T Bank Stadium. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Steelers running back Isaac Redman breaks the tackle attempt by the Ravens' Bernard Pollard in the fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Band Stadium. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch is hit by the Ravens' Ma'ake Kemoeatu in the third quarter Dec. 2, 2012, at M&T Bank Stadium. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

BALTIMORE — Ben Roethlisberger was the first to greet Charlie Batch, grabbing him tightly for a 30-second bear hug that summed up everything about this emotional day, this resilient team, this improbable win.

The quarterback who was too hurt to play knew exactly what was going through the mind of the quarterback who was being called too old to play.

The Steelers had just beaten the Ravens team they supposedly couldn't beat — not in this stadium, not under these circumstances, not with this man at the controls, and it meant everything to both of them.

“You go out there and that was a big win,” Batch said. “It was one of those moments, and he and I shared it. I'll keep it between us what was said, but it was something that was special.”

Special almost didn't begin to describe the Steelers' 23-20 win Sunday over the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, where it appeared not one of the 71,442 in attendance left before Shaun Suisham decided it with his third field goal, a 42-yarder on the final, stunning-to-the-home-crowd play.

Maybe because it looked to be all over for the Steelers (7-5) when the Ravens (9-3), in position to wrap up the AFC North with a win and a little help, seized a 13-3 lead on Joe Flacco's 28-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin late in the second quarter.

It was a sizable deficit for a Steelers offense that was averaging a touchdown a game without its franchise quarterback.

“A lot of people were counting us out,” Jonathan Dwyer said. “It was an amazing win.”

The Steelers were without the still-injured Roethlisberger, the one player they can always count on to get them out of these jams. In his place was a man who will turn 38 in three days, the oldest quarterback in Steelers history.

And they were turning the ball over yet again — three more turnovers, giving them an unfathomable 11 in two games — and turning over players on both sides of the ball at an alarming rate, Willie Colon and Ike Taylor among them.

The All-Pro center, Maurkice Pouncey, was at left guard on a makeshift offensive line in which a seventh-round rookie, Kelvin Beachum, was at right tackle and a backup, Doug Legursky, was at center. Top cornerback Taylor was injured and out, too, and Flacco and Boldin spent the first half picking on his replacement, Cortez Allen. About the only addition was Troy Polamalu, who played for the first time since tearing a calf muscle eight weeks ago.

But the team that couldn't beat the near-comical Browns the week before found a way to beat the Ravens, something no team had done in Baltimore since the Steelers last accomplished it 16 games and two years ago.

The Steelers ended the Ravens' 12-game AFC North winning streak, four-game overall winning streak and held onto the AFC's second wild-card spot that might be decided when the Bengals (7-5) — who came back themselves to beat the Chargers 20-13 — visit Heinz Field in three weeks.

“We control our own destiny,” linebacker Larry Foote said. “As long as keep winning, we get a ticket.”

They did it with defense, limiting the Ravens to a dozen yards in a pivotal fourth quarter turned by James Harrison's strip-sack of Flacco, altered by Batch's clutch, game-tying 7-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller with 7:24 remaining and decided by a stirring, game-ending drive that lasted 6 minutes, 14 seconds.

“I challenged the offense: ‘Let's go out and do it,' ” Batch said. “We put everything on the line. I wouldn't say our season was on the line, but we knew we had to come in and get this win because in order to get into that (Super Bowl) tournament we need wins, plain and simple.”

Batch, so dreadful the week before while getting picked off three times by the Browns, went 25 of 36 for 276 yards — his most ever with the Steelers.

“Charlie did an amazing job,” lineman Max Starks said. “It was a phenomenal job.”

It was the first win for the Steelers in the seven career games that Roethlisberger has not started against the Ravens.

More than anything, maybe that explained why a quarterback whose career is not nearly over was so overcome by the play of a quarterback who, depending on Roethlisberger's health, may have played his last game.

“December football, it's big,” said Batch, who is very much in the December of his career.

Of course, Decembers are almost always something to remember for the Steelers, who are 9-2 in their last 11 games played in the month.

And the game's biggest block? It was delivered by none other than Batch, a seal block on Cary Williams that left a running lane wide open for Jonathan Dwyer on his 16-yard touchdown run that tied it at 13 early in the third quarter. Batch set up the score with a 43-yard completion to Miller.

“It shows you what kind of heart he has,” Dwyer said. “I know I wouldn't have scored without that block.”

The loss likely won't cost the Ravens the division, yet they begrudgingly ceded the win to the Steelers.

As safety Bernard Pollard was praising Batch, saying, “He's a professional quarterback. He's on the roster for a reason.”

Ed Reed, listening nearby, replied with a snarl and an off-color comment.

Typical Steelers vs. Ravens in other words. It was the seventh time in their last eight games the final margin was three points.

Not surprisingly, the Steelers hugged each other, danced in the end zone and celebrated in unison at the end, and that attracted the Ravens' attention, especially given that Pittsburgh has almost no chance to win the division.

“When you looked at their faces when they ran off the field, man, this wasn't the Super Bowl,” said Reed, who had a fumble recovery and an interception.

No, but it wasn't the Blooper Bowl of the week before, either. And just when they seemed to be going away, the Steelers showed their biggest rival and the rest of the NFL they might be around a little longer.

Maybe for some January football.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.