No such thing as a moral victory in the NFL but when the clock struck 12 at Heinz Field, the Ravens let the football world know they are capable of playing with the AFC's best.
We all wondered about the level of competition in those first two wins, but not this time. Monday Night was Big Boy Football on the road. In the end, the Steelers extended their Monday Night home win streak to an NFL record 14 with the 23-20 overtime win.
It was a game of inches with Jeff Reed's game-winning field goal just sneaking inside the left upright, but this one was more a game of seconds. In the 3rd quarter, the Steelers scored 14 points in 15 seconds, and a team and stadium that was dead, suddenly had the life they needed to get the win.
The Ravens' defense totally throttled Pittsburgh in the first half holding Big Ben and friends to a measly 46 yards. The Ravens' suffocating play had Steeler fans putting down their terrible towels and booing the home team.
It changed in the 2nd half, the Steelers got a spark from a no-huddle offense, a Ravens penalty and Roethlisberger's ability to avoid the blitz and make big plays.
Santonio Holmes caught a 38-yard TD pass, and a play later, LaMarr Woodley went back-to-back scooping up a Joe Flacco fumble for a quick 6; 14 points in 15 seconds led to a 20-13 4th-quarter Pittsburgh lead.
But that's when Joe Flacco gave us a glimpse into potential greatness. After giving up a TD on his fumble, the rookie didn't go in the tank, instead he went Elway. In front of a noisy, hostile crowd, he took the Ravens on a brilliant 9-play 76-yard TD drive that tied the game.
During "the drive," Flacco hit 3 of 3 passes for 60 yards. The highlight of the clutch drive was converting a 3rd-and-12 with a 35-yard toss to Derrick Mason. One drive doesn't make a career, but this one said a lot about "Joe Cool."
In a perfect world, Flacco would have hit a big pass to set up the overtime winner, but we'll have to wait for the rest of the storybook. For now, Ravens fans have to like what they see from their ever-improving rookie QB.
A typical Ravens-Steelers smash-mouth game, a tough loss and now a short week to get ready for one of only two 4-0 teams in the NFL. The Ravens and the Titans Sunday at the Bank, featuring two of the best defenses in the NFL. Bring your hard hats!
Can Kick:Stover was 2 for 2, and Koch averaged over 47 yards a punt.
Help:Replays showed Derrick Mason had both feet in and should have had a TD, but no Ravens challenge. Huge play in a 3-point game, the coaches upstairs get the best look at that play.
Controlled Violence:Jarret Johnson lost control briefly, and it cost him a big 15-yard penalty.
Mean on Monday:Ray Lewis was everywhere, goal-line stand, batting passes in coverage, stuffing the run, still Ray after all these years.
Go To:Derrick Mason had a TD taken away, but still grabbed 8 for 137 and was the best receiver on the field.
* No Sack-O:*From snap to pass, Flacco's cross-country scramble was clocked at 12.4 seconds.
Long-time and respected broadcast journalist Scott Garceau has covered Baltimore sports, including all of its pro football teams, for the last 30 years. Scott, who was the radio voice of Ravens football for the team's first 10 seasons (1996-2005), is a seven-time Maryland Sportscaster of the Year. Garceau is also honored as Baltimore's Pro Football Hall of Fame selector/voter. A native of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, where he is a member of the area Hall of Fame, Scott has covered the NFL since 1971.