Champions of the North

The Steelers clinched the AFC North title and a bye in the first round of the playoffs with a 13-9 victory at Baltimore Sunday.

The amazing wins just keep on coming.

Needing three points to tie their game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers took possession of the ball at their own 8 with 3:36 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Despite playing against the league's second-ranked defense on its home field before an M&T Bank Stadum-record crowd of 71,502, Ben Roethlisberger drove Pittsburgh 92 yards for the game-winning touchdown, as the Steelers pulled out their fifth fourth quarter victory of the season with a 13-9 win here over the Ravens.

With the victory, the Steelers (11-3) not only swept the Ravens for the first time since 2002 – the last time they won in Baltimore – they also clinched the AFC North championship for the second consecutive season under Tomlin. They've also wrapped up a bye in the first round of the AFC playoffs with a chance to lay claim on the top spot next week at Tennessee (12-2).

That it came at the expense of the Ravens (9-5) on their home field was gratifying.

That it also hurt the Ravens' playoff chances was almost equally so.

Baltimore gave the Steelers all they could handle, taking a 9-3 lead into the fourth quarter. But the Steelers rallied by scoring the game's final 10 points – including driving the length of the field in the closing minutes to win it.

Roethlisberger, who completed 22 of 40 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown, directed a 54-yard field goal drive to close it to 9-6 with 9:26 remaining.

The Ravens drove to the Pittsburgh 27 on their next possession, but Lawrence Timmons sacked Joe Flacco on third down, forcing him to fumble, pushing the Ravens back out of field goal range.

But the ensuing punt was downed at the Pittsburgh 8, giving the Steelers the ball back with just 3:36 remaining.

Roethlisberger completed seven passes for 89 yards, finishing the drive off with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds remaining to put the Steelers ahead.

Roethlisberger scrambled to his left on the play, then back toward the middle of the field before firing the ball to Holmes, who had both feet in the end zone.

Holmes landed on the 2-yard line after catching the ball and was initially ruled as down there. But since the play occured in the final two minutes, the replay booth called for a review and it was ruled Holmes was in the end zone when he caught the ball.

"He had two feet down. When he gained control of the ball, the ball was breaking the plane," said referee Walt Coleman.

It was a big play for Holmes, who had lost a fumble in the third quarter deep in Pittsburgh territory that led to a Baltimore field goal.

Pittsburgh held the Ravens to a season-low 202 yards, their 14th consecutive game in which they limited an opponent to under 300 yards. That ties the 1973 Los Angeles Rams for the most games holding an opponent under 300 yards since the NFL merger in 1970.

All the Ravens could manage on offense was three Matt Stover field goals as Flacco, Baltimore's rookie quarterback, struggled to solve Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense. Flacco finished with 11 completions in 28 attempts for 115 yards and two interceptions.


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