|Date of game: 11/28/2013
Recap: Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh
Baltimore, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Tucker drilled five field goals and Baltimore's defense came up with a decisive stop on a potential game-tying two-point conversion with 1:03 left to help the Ravens hang on for a 22-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving night.
Tucker's final field goal of the game gave Baltimore a 22-14 lead with 5:37 to play before Ben Roethlisberger guided the Steelers down the field, using a 29- yard catch-and-run from Le'Veon Bell to get the team to the Baltimore 20.
Two plays later, Roethlisberger fired a strike to Heath Miller up the middle for what appeared to be a 20-yard touchdown, but video review showed Miller's knee on the ground just before the ball crossed the goal line.
After being stuffed for no gain on the next play, Bell surged off the left side and dove for the end zone, where a huge collision ensued that sent Bell's helmet flying into the end zone.
Bell, who appeared to lose consciousness on the hit, fell backwards into the end zone for what was originally ruled a touchdown, but the rookie running back was ruled down just short of the end zone because his helmet came off before the ball broke the plane.
"I understand the rule that when a runner's helmet comes off, the play is over, but the issue that I had was I was told on the field that the touchdown was confirmed by multiple officials and then they reviewed it," Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin said. "That's my issue from a mechanics standpoint."
Following an incompletion on third down, Roethlisberger hit Jericho Cotchery on a quick slant for a 1-yard touchdown, but Emmanuel Sanders was unable to hang on to a potential game-tying two-point conversion pass on the next play.
Pittsburgh then attempted an onside kick, but the ball never came close to traveling 10 yards and the Ravens were able to run out the remainder of the clock with a series of kneel downs.
With the victory, Baltimore (6-6) slid into the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC, grabbing a half-game lead over the Titans, Chargers, Jets and Dolphins.
Joe Flacco finished 24-of-35 passing for 251 yards and a touchdown, with Torrey Smith hauling in the score en route to a game-high 93 receiving yards in the win.
"Any time you score 22 points and you basically kicked all field goals, you scored on a lot of drives," Flacco said of his ability to move the offense.
Roethlisberger passed for 257 yards and two touchdowns on 28-of-44 passing for the Steelers (5-7), who had won three straight.
Bell added 73 yards and a touchdown on 16 totes in defeat.
After Pittsburgh went three-and-out to open the game, Flacco converted a pair of 3rd-and-7s on Baltimore's first series, including the final play of the drive when he found Smith for a 7-yard score that made it 7-0 with 9:18 left in the first.
The Steelers seemed poised to crack the scoreboard midway through the second when Shaun Suisham lined up for a 49-yard field goal, but the Pittsburgh place kicker started his motion too early and was unable to get the kick off.
"I think he (Suisham) started for the ball early and of course created the situation where we weren't able to get the play off," Tomlin said of the missed opportunity.
Following the miscue, Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor was whistled for pass interference on 3rd-and-7 to extend Baltimore's ensuing series, which Tucker capped with a 43-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 3:01 left in the half.
Tucker tacked on a 34-yard field goal on Baltimore's first touch of the second half to push the margin to 13-0 before Roethlisberger finally got his team on the board.
Bell came up with the big play of the drive, converting a 3rd-and-2 from the Pittsburgh 49 with a 43-yard scamper that saw him surge up the middle before bouncing down the left sideline to the Baltimore 8.
Three plays later, Roethlisberger stepped up in the pocket and rolled to his right before finding Sanders in the back of the end zone for an 8-yard score that brought the Steelers within 13-7 with 6:26 to go in the third.
Jacoby Jones broke free down the left side on the ensuing kickoff, but appeared to be obstructed by Tomlin along the sideline, causing the speedy return man to cut slightly back to the middle before he was taken down at the Pittsburgh 27 for a 73-yard return.
"As I got closer I just weaved to get out of the way and it broke my stride a little bit but I still shouldn't have gotten caught," Jones said of nearly running into Tomlin along the sideline.
Flacco found Ed Dickson for 16 yards on Baltimore's next play, but the team failed to pick up another first down and settled for Tucker's 38-yard field goal that made it 16-7 with 3:49 left in the third.
Following a Pittsburgh three-and-out, Tucker nailed a 45-yard field goal just over a minute into the fourth, giving Baltimore a 19-7 advantage.
Roethlisberger helped bring the visitors within a score on their ensuing touch, converting a pair of big third downs on a 10-play, 60-yard trek that Bell capped with a 1-yard TD surge to make it 19-14 with 9:32 to play.Game Notes
Roethlisberger tied Terry Bradshaw's Steelers record for career TD passes with
212 ... Tucker has made his last 27 field goals ... Pittsburgh fell to 1-6
all-time on Thanksgiving and was playing on the holiday for the first time
since 1998 ... Pittsburgh compiled 22 first downs and held Baltimore to 16 ...
Both teams ran 62 offensive plays ... Miller led Pittsburgh's receiving corps
with eight catches for 86 yards.