BALTIMORE - Troy Polamalu provided Ben Roethlisberger another chance to beat the Baltimore Ravens, and Pittsburgh's battered quarterback did just that.
Roethlisberger threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Redman with 2:51 left after Polamalu forced a fumble with a sack of Joe Flacco, and the Steelers beat the Ravens, 13-10, last night to gain sole possession of first place in the AFC North.
A fierce defensive battle turned when Polamalu hit Flacco's arm on a safety blitz. The loose ball was taken 19 yards by Lamarr Woodley to the Baltimore 9, setting up Pittsburgh's lone touchdown.
After throwing two incomplete passes, Roethlisberger dumped a short toss over the middle to Redman, who broke tackles by Dawan Landry and Jarret Johnson on his way to the end zone.
Baltimore's ensuing drive ended at the Pittsburgh 31 when Flacco bounced a fourth-down pass to Ed Dickson with 33 seconds remaining.
The victory left the Steelers (9-3) a game ahead of the Ravens (8-4) in the division and gave Pittsburgh a split of the season series.
"Tough place to play, but let's be frank, we needed to come here and even the score in this matchup," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "Thankfully we did, and we'll push on."
Baltimore blew a fourth-quarter lead for the sixth time this season and had its eight-game home winning streak end.
"Obviously, it was a tough loss. Basically, we gave the game away at the end," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We should have won the football game, and that's disappointing."
Playing with a sprained right foot and overcoming a fierce pass rush, Roethlisberger went 22-for-38 for 253 yards. He has won six straight starts against Baltimore and is 8-2 lifetime against the Ravens.
Flacco was 17-for-33 for 266 yards, but his fumble was the most decisive play of the game.
"It was an all-out blitz. They brought everybody," Flacco said. "I took three steps and raised my arm and was getting hit. It was pretty shocking."
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who had 1 1/2 sacks, said, "We gave it to them. We can't give [Polamalu] a chance to make plays, and we did. You see 43 [Polamalu] at the line, and you know he's coming."