BALTIMORE — Troy Polamalu provided Ben Roethlisberger another chance to beat the Ravens, and Pittsburgh's battered quarterback did just that.
Roethlisberger threw a 9-yard touchdown to Isaac Redman with 2:51 left after Polamalu forced a fumble on a sack of Joe Flacco, and the Steelers beat the Ravens 13-10 Sunday night to gain sole possession of first 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 two incompletions, Roethlisberger dumped a short toss over the middle to Redman, who broke tackles by safety Dawan Landry and linebacker Jarret Johnson on his way to the end zone.
Baltimore's ensuing drive ended at the Pittsburgh 32 when Flacco bounced a pass to Ed Dickson on fourth and 2 with 33 seconds remaining. Going into a wind that hit up to 31 mph on a 35-degree night, coach John Harbaugh chose not to try what would have been a 49-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff.
The victory left the Steelers a game ahead of the Ravens 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.
Baltimore blew a fourth-quarter lead for the sixth time this season.
"Obviously, it was a tough loss. Basically, we gave the game away at the end," 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 that gave him a bloody nose in the first quarter, Roethlisberger went 22-for-38 for 253 yards. He has won six straight starts against Baltimore (he was suspended when the Ravens won the first meeting) and is 8-2 lifetime against the Ravens.
Flacco was 17-for-33 for 266 yards, but his fumble was the most decisive play.
Both starting tight ends were knocked out. Baltimore's Todd Heap strained a hamstring on the first play from scrimmage, and Pittsburgh's Heath Miller suffered a concussion in the third quarter in a collision with Ravens cornerback Chris Carr.
The Steelers also lost right tackle Flozell Adams and even punter Daniel Sepulveda. Kicker Shaun Suisham, who hit two field goals for Pittsburgh, was also called upon to punt for the remainder of the game.