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Blown Opportunity: Steelers Fail in Final Minute in 23-20 Loss to Ravens

Ben Roethlisberger drops back to pass against Terrell Sugg

You knew it would come down to the wire. The Steelers and Ravens usually do, and just like last year in week four, Joe Flacco and the Birds had the last laugh.

With the Steelers up four with :23 seconds to play and the Ravens at the Steelers 26-yard line, Flacco heaved a ball toward the end zone to rookie Torry Smith, and Willie Gay and Ryan Clark couldn’t make the play, and just like that – the Ravens walk out of Heinz Field with a 23-20 win.

It’s the type of loss that simply deflates you. The Steelers rallied from a 16-6 fourth quarter deficit to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take a 20-16 lead. They had the ball at the Ravens 34 with 2:24 left, and instead of going for a field goal that would have made it 23-16, they took a delay and punted to the 8-yard line.

That’s all that Flacco, who did it last year in week four, needed. He and the Ravens went 92 yards in 12 plays in 2:09 for the win. Flacco ended the night 28-for-47 for 300 yards with a touchdown.

The defense, playing without starting LB’s LaMarr Woodley and James Farrior, let the Ravens dominate the game from a third-down standpoint, as they went 14-for-21 on third downs, including a couple in the final drive that would have won the game.

With the win, Baltimore sweeps the season series for the first time since 2006, and they are now 6-2, tied with the Bengals for first in the AFC North. The Steelers drop to 6-3, and next week they have a golden shot to get right back in the race as they head to Cincy to play the Bengals and their rookie QB Andy Dalton for the first time this season.

The first half was nothing but field goals, and a questionable call by some awful officials gave the Ravens a 9-6 halftime lead. The Steelers also didn’t get a call they should have when Ray Lewis went helmet-to-helmet on Hines Ward, knocking him out of the game and the refs simply overlooked it.

Then later with the half nearing its end, the ref called a 15-yard personal foul on Clark for a hit that was just a weak call. The penalty set up a Billy Cundiff 51-yard field goal to make it a 3-point game at the half.

The Ravens went up 16-6 in the third quarter on a short Ray Rice run, but the Steelers quickly turned it back around. They went downfield quickly for a 12-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a Rashard Mendenhall 1-yard run to make it 16-13.

The following Ravens drive ended with James Harrison making a hit on Flacco, knocking the ball loose and it was recovered by Gay. Ben Roethlisberger went down the field and hit Mike Wallace with a 25-yard TD with 4:59 left to make it 20-16.

It looked like it could have clearly ended that way with the Ravens going 3-and-out on the next drive, but the Steelers couldn’t convert and ended up punting with 2:24 left, allowing enough time for the Ravens to engineer a game-winning TD drive.

Baltimore was outgained by the Black and Gold 392 to 356, but the time of possession was dominated by the Ravens, 37:55 to 22:05.

It’s a wasted opportunity, and now all the Steelers can do is quickly forget about it, and get ready for a Bengals team that appears for real at 6-2 and a team that wants nothing more than to knock off the Steelers next Sunday.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. Thomas Crowley

    November 7, 2011 at 1:31 am

    HAHAHAHA so much for me crying in my crabcakes uh loede. Drgeorge what i say man.


  2. Mark

    November 7, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Tough loss for the Steelers. Officiating certainly didnt help the home team in this one.

  3. The Tony

    November 7, 2011 at 9:04 am

    It was hard to watch that game last night. It appears that the Steelers were the better team last night. Thank god for referees and thank god for prevent defense

  4. DrGeorge

    November 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Mr. Crowley, it is ill-mannered and unsportsmanlike to gloat after a victory, but I will give you this: Flacco played well. The Ravens deserved to win. But the Steelers defense did not lose the game. See my long comment above under the Tomlin interview. And in keeping with my comments there, let me propose a trade: Bruce Arians and Ben R. for Cam Cameron. And you can keep Flacco. I’d call it an even trade.

    • The Tony

      November 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      Dr.George I normally always agree with you, however it is unbelievable to want to trade of Ben Rothlisberger.

    • Jay

      November 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      Interesting trade proposition. If the ravens through in a couple of first round picks, maybe. BB is too good though. That you have to admit. However, I would give away Arians for free hell I’d pay someone to take him. I’d trade him for CROWLEY for christ’s sakes!!!

      • Jay

        November 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

        throw instead of through* By the way, I was sick all weekend and only watched the Steelers, what is going on at PSU???

        • Jay

          November 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm

          Just read the post gazette article(s). Just goes to show the deviance and corruption that goes on at university’s with BIG programs..That it is better to let something as tragic as this to go under the rug than to call out any one involved with football! That’s fucked up and, as much as I love football, it’s never bigger than sins of this or of any magnitude! Fire everyone involved and start over if for no other reason than to do the right thing. I wonder if anyone in BIG society even remembers what the right things are anymore! It’s sad.

  5. Mark

    November 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Crowley acts like the Ravens and their no-class coach. Ravens did their thing last night so they deserve to be in 1st place. Another half of a season is coming and things can change. Like I have said before, ignoring Crowley is still the best way to deal with it. I still cant figure out why he seems to spend more time on OUR site then on one of his own? Funny, no one heard from that band-wagon,closet Browns fan when the Steelers beat his birds in the playoffs. And no one heard from him after week 2 when his birds followed up the Steeler win with an egg. Dont take this guy too serious. he obviously likes to instigate but I have to wonder how old he is and who might have rooted for when his Ravens didnt even exist?

  6. Thomas Crowley

    November 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Wow drgeorge you actually be willing to trade big ben, cam and arians are both good. I really don’t think arians is as bad as you steeler fan act like.

  7. Thomas Crowley

    November 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Mark i’m 21,i was a redskin fan before i became a ravens fan.
    I’ve been a ravens fan since 1999.

    • Mark

      November 8, 2011 at 9:19 am

      21??? WOW. I remember when I was 21 too. I thought I knew everything. Ok, I am not going to be disrespectful. Crowley, why didnt you just stick with the Redskins? Is this going to be a pattern? <aybe in a few years you can switch to the Lions since they are up-and-coming?

  8. Thomas Crowley

    November 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Nope always gonna stick with the ravens

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