Cundiff FG ties Ravens-Steelers game, forces OT

Billy Cundiff kicked a 24-yard field goal for the Baltimore Ravens with 1:51 left in regulation, forcing overtime in Sunday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Ravens used a 44-yard scamper by Ray Rice on fourth-and-5 from their own 46-yard line to move to the Steelers 10. But the drive stalled after two running plays when Joe Flacco threw wide of tight end Todd Heap in the end zone on third down.

Cundiff then converted for a 17-all tie. His 56-yard attempt as time expired fell short.

Pittsburgh had taken a 17-14 lead with 6:24 remaining in regulation, converting after Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco‘s fumble was recovered by Brett Keisel. Third-string quarterback Dennis Dixon finished off a seven-play, 54-yard drive by scoring on a 24-keeper around the right end.

Flacco threw a touchdown pass to Derrick Mason and Willis McGahee scored on a short run, helping Baltimore take a 14-10 lead after three quarters.

The Steelers trailed 14-7 before Jeff Reed kicked a 44-yard field goal, the only scoring of the third quarter.

Flacco’s 10-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Mason put the Ravens up by seven. Mason outjumped Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor in the left side of the end zone with 1:45 left in the first half, hauling in a floater to complete an 89-yard drive. It was Mason’s first career touchdown in 21 games against Pittsburgh.

Early in the second quarter, Dixon threw a 33-yard touchdown strike to Santonio Holmes, tying the game.

Dixon was 3 for 3 for 60 yards on the 74-yard drive. His longest completion was the TD to Holmes, who dived to make contact with the pylon at the left side of the goal line.

The Steelers were expected to focus mostly on running plays to compensate for the inexperience of Dixon, the former Oregon star who had thrown only one pass in two NFL seasons. But Dixon mixed it up, employing an effective short-range passing game to complement the ground attack.

Dixon started in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger, who was listed as the team’s third quarterback and was to be used only in an emergency. Dixon was 8 for 10 for 87 yards in the first half.

Roethlisberger was sidelined with a concussion sustained late in last Sunday’s loss to Kansas City when he collided with the knee of Chiefs linebacker Derrick Jackson.

Pittsburgh was also without backup quarterback Charlie Batch, who broke his wrist after taking over for Roethlisberger last week, and signed Tyler Palko to back up Dixon.

After the Steelers went three-and-out on the game’s initial possession, Flacco drove the Ravens 73 yards in nine plays, with McGahee’s 2-yard touchdown run producing a 7-0 lead.

Flacco was 5 for 5 for 50 yards on the drive, which gave the Ravens their first offensive touchdown in the first half since Oct. 4.