Despite having everything stacked against them, it was a game that you felt that the Pittsburgh Steelers were not going to lose.
The Baltimore Ravens had the longest home winning streak in the league and had just dominated their AFC North competition. But as the game played out, Pittsburgh just took it to them.
As poor as the Steelers played last week, that is how good they were this week.
Mike Tomlin and his staff put together a terrific game plan to not only keep the team competitive, but put them in position to win at the end.
The running backs held onto the ball and Charlie Batch was unbelievable, leading his team to victory.
They did all of this while making the smart decision to keep players such as Ben Roethlisberger, LaMarr Woodley, Willie Colon and David DeCastro out of the lineup. The Steelers even lost Ike Taylor on the first series, but Cortez Allen was up to the task.
Here are the candidates for the game ball for the victory over the Ravens.
Did you even hear Keenan Lewis’ name today? Not unless he was making a play.
Lewis stepped up his game with Taylor leaving the game early and shut down half of the field. He had four tackles and one pass defensed.
However, Lewis did not get beaten deep as Joe Flacco and the Ravens continued to try to get behind the Steelers’ defense.
Combined with a strong effort from Allen and Ryan Clark, the Steelers’ secondary held Joe Flacco to a putrid 47 percent passing for only 188 yards.
James Harrison has struggled coming back from injuries this year, but he made his presence felt in a big way.
Baltimore only had 288 total yards on offense and scored both touchdowns off of turnovers and Harrison was a big part of this.
He had a team-high seven tackles and had some nice backside pursuit throughout the day.
However, Harrison’s biggest play came when he sacked Flacco and forced a fumble which was recovered by Ziggy Hood. The forced fumble came just three plays after Ed Reed intercepted Batch in the end zone.
Pittsburgh would convert the turnover into a game-tying touchdown.
This was exactly the type of play that the Steelers needed from one of their best playmakers.
Sean Kugler did an outstanding job preparing the offensive line for this tough road game against Baltimore.
He had—from left to right—Max Starks, Maurkice Pouncey, Doug Legursky, Ramon Foster and Kelvin Beachum.
By moving Pouncey to left guard, the Steelers were able to start Legursky at center, which he plays quite well. The move turned out to be a good one.
Legursky had a strong game at center and Pouncey looked right at home at guard. Meanwhile, the best surprise of the day was the play of the rookie Beachum.
Beachum was thrust into action last week after Mike Adams left the game with an injury and the rookie held his own.
There were no plays in which Beachum truly looked out of place, and he helped open up some huge lanes for the running backs.
More importantly, the line held it together and provided Batch plenty of time to throw the ball. He was sacked twice, but both were coverage sacks.
Overall, it was an outstanding effort by the entire line.
Heath Miller had to spend a lot of the game staying in to block to help Beachum, but when he was let loose, Miller made things happen.
Miller had one of his best games of the season with five receptions for 97 yards as he tore the Ravens apart over the middle of the field.
His 43-yard reception was the longest of the day, but it was Miller’s seven-yard touchdown reception that tied the game.
Batch rolled out and Miller made the reception and dove to the pylon for the score. It was an outstanding effort by both players.
One of the prettiest plays that you’ll see is when Batch faked a pass to Chris Rainey and hit Miller—who delayed his route—up the seam for a huge gain. It was an excellent play design by Todd Haley.
Miller played a huge role in the win and showed why he is one of the best tight ends in the league.
Batch did not play a bad game in last week’s loss to the Cleveland Browns, but he could have been better. Well, he was better this week—much better.
Not only did Batch keep the Steelers competitive, he led them to a huge victory over the Ravens.
It was not all pretty for Batch.
He struggled with some throws early in the game—throwing several passes at the receivers’ feet or overthrowing receivers.
Batch missed a wide open Mike Wallace in the end zone and got baited by Ed Reed into an interception.
Beyond that, Batch did exactly what he needed to.
Batch completely outplayed Flacco as he completed 25-of-36 passes for 276 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
He connected with seven different receivers and made throws to all parts of the field and even helped lead Jonathan Dwyer in for the team's first touchdown.
But it wasn’t a throw that stood out on this day—it was Batch’s leadership in the huddle.
As the Steelers offense huddled up heading into the two-minute warning, the CBS cameras showed Batch saying some inspiring words to his teammates.
It was clear that he had command of the huddle and was going to lead the team to victory.
Batch led the Steelers on a 12-play, 51-yard game-winning drive that consumed the final 6:14 of the clock.
Batch went 5-of-5 for 45 yards on the drive and converted a huge 3rd-and-7. He also took two big hits from Haloti Ngata and Paul Kruger—which drew a roughing the quarterback penalty.
It was a game that the Steelers weren’t supposed to win, but they did and that will give them plenty of momentum heading into the final quarter of the season.
For those reasons, Charlie Batch earned the game ball for the win over the Ravens.