Prisuta's Fourth & Goal

Mike Prisuta and Ben Roethlisberger point to yardage in defense of embattled offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. That and more tasty notes.

Leading 13-10 and facing a first-and-10 from their 6-yard line with two minutes left in the first half against the Ravens, the Steelers tried to pass and threw incomplete.

Two snaps later, on third-and-12 from the 4 with 1:11 remaining before the break, the Steelers tried to pass again.

This time, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Mike Wallace for 45 yards to the Steelers' 49.

It was a "free play," as the Ravens had jumped offside, but the Steelers were going deep in that situation whether the Ravens fell for Roethlisberger's hard count or not.

"It ain't lookin' real good," OC Bruce Arians said of third-and-12 from just outside the goal line. "So it was, ‘OK, let's throw the bomb.' Max-protect it, you might get a flag ... great hard count, got 'em offside, got a free play ... and ‘boom,' there he is."

The Steelers turned the big play into a TD just before the half that gave them a 20-10 lead on the way to a had-to-have-it, 23-20 victory.

It was a situation that no doubt had many screaming for the Steelers to run the ball and run out the clock.

Good thing the OC didn't listen.

* Ziggy Hood's coming out party couldn't have been timed any better given the loss of defensive end Brett Keisel with a stinger.

But even if Hood becomes the player the Steelers envision, it's hard to imagine them not eventually regretting passing on USC linebacker Rey Maualuga for years to come given that Maualuga, who suffered a broken ankle on Sunday, landed in Cincinnati.

That would be AFC North Division-champion Cincinnati.

* Back to the offense. Here's Roethlisberger's reaction to all the negativity surrounding the embattled OC:

"It's awesome to have the 1,000-yard rusher and the two 1,000-yard receivers, for Heath (Miller) to catch more balls than any tight end (in Steelers history). I think what it does is it talks and speaks volumes about this offense and actually how dynamic and potent it is.

"That's why I sit there and laugh when people talk about Bruce Arians and his offense. We have one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. I think it's kinda something people should lay off him about."

The Steelers also have a 4,000-yard passer in Roethlisberger and three players with at least 70 receptions for the first time in franchise history.

* Beating the Ravens is beating the Ravens, and staying alive in the postseason chase beats the alternative.

Still, it's hard to get too weepy about Sunday if you recall that Baltimore had an interception return for a touchdown called back because of a penalty, a run for a touchdown called back because of a penalty, and a touchdown pass that was dropped by a wide-open Derrick Mason.

Somebody's gotta win the two Wild Cards in the AFC. It's questionable as to whether any of the contenders deserve them.

* The defensive player of the game for the Steelers had to be linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Still, special recognition is due safety Ryan Mundy, who was able to successfully defend tight end Todd Heap in the end zone.

Cornerbacks Deshea Townsend and William Gay weren't as fortunate.


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