Shaun Suisham drilled a 42-yard field goal on the final play of the game, handing the Pittsburgh Steelers a 19-16 win over the rival Baltimore Ravens on Sunday evening at Heinz Field.
The Steelers (2-4) clinched their second consecutive win just moments after the Ravens (3-4) constructed a 16-play drive to tie the game, capped by Dallas Clark‘s 1-yard touchdown reception with 2:02 left in regulation.
But Emmanuel Sanders returned the resulting kickoff from deep in his own end zone to the Pittsburgh 37-yard line. At first glance, Sanders appeared to take the kick all the way, but despite stepping out of bounds he set up Ben Roethlisberger for the game-winning drive.
Two pass completions to Antonio Brown for a combined 24 yards did most of the work to get the Steelers in comfortable range for Suisham, who made all four field goals he attempted on a chilly late afternoon in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers didn’t gain any ground on the first-place Bengals in the AFC North, as Cincinnati (5-2) defeated Detroit on a similar last-second kick. However, Pittsburgh did move within a half-game of Baltimore and Cleveland in its quest to dig out of an 0-4 hole.
The home team led almost all of the way in the latest installation of the Steelers-Ravens feud. Tight end Heath Miller pulled in a 3-yard scoring pass from Roethlisberger with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the first quarter, pushing Pittsburgh ahead 7-0.
Roethlisberger completed 17 of 23 passes for 160 yards and that lone touchdown to Miller, augmenting the aerial attack with three scrambles for 25 yards. Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell helped the Steelers offense achieve its desired balance, rushing 19 times for 93.
The afternoon trudged along in typical fashion for this rivalry, with Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker and Suisham hitting two field goals apiece to keep Pittsburgh ahead 13-6 entering the final quarter. Tucker’s third three-pointer of the game, a 32-yarder, drew the Ravens within four in the early stages of the fourth, empowering the Ravens to attempt on onside kick immediately afterward.
The Steelers recovered that kick, giving them possession at the Baltimore 43. Five plays later, Pittsburgh regained its seven-point advantage when Suisham connected from 38 yards away.
But Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, whom the Steelers kept under wraps for most of the game, completed nine of 10 passes on the tying drive. Baltimore went 4 for 4 on third downs while keeping the ball for just over eight minutes and quieting the loudest crowd at Heinz Field this autumn. The Pittsburgh defense hadn’t allowed a touchdown in more than two full games, dating back to Sept. 29 vs. Minnesota.
Sanders’ return turned the volume back up, and the 60,000-plus in attendance got to celebrate the team’s first home win of the year when Suisham, one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL, took care of business at the buzzer.
Brown led the Steelers in receiving, catching six passes for a modest 50 yards as Roethlisberger hooked up with eight different targets. Jerricho Cotchery had four catches and Miller snagged two.
Pittsburgh will gun for three wins in a row next Sunday in Oakland against the struggling Raiders. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Eastern time.