Baltimore Ravens: Three years ago, Ravens 23, Steelers 20


November 18, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (left) and quarterback Joe Flacco (5) react after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Baltimore Ravens won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps this game has been surpassed, but at the time, there was perhaps no more exciting game in the Joe Flacco era than the Baltimore Ravens’ last-second 23-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9 three years ago.

Let’s take a moment to remember the moment Joe Flacco established himself as clutch and Torrey Smith established himself as a threat.

The rest of the game is irrelevant to Ravens’ lore at this point except that it set up the greatest drive in Ravens franchise history.

With 2:17 on the clock and down 20-16, the Baltimore Ravens controlled the ball at their own eight-yard line.

Play 1: Joe Flacco pass thrown away after pressure from Brett Kiesel. The pass was thrown in the general direction of Ed Dickson running a deep out.

Play 2: Joe Flacco hit Anquan Bolden on a post for a 21-yard gain, a perfect in-rhythm pitch and catch.

Play 3: Joe Flacco threw a strike to LaQuan Williams, who a ran a deep comeback. A 13-yard gain.

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Play 4: Joe Flacco was pressured immediately, forcing incompletion to Ray Rice in the flat.

Play 5: Joe Flacco hit Anquan Boldin for a nine-yard gain on an out route from the slot.

Play 6: Joe Flacco threw an incomplete pass intended for LaQuan Williams, dropped.

Play 7: Joe Flacco pass was completed to Anquan Boldin for 10-yards on an in route.

Play 8: Joe Flacco hit Ed Dickson on the right sideline for a two-yard gain. Less than a minute left.

Play 9: Here was Torrey Smith’s famous drop in the end zone with 42 seconds left. I remember thinking, “If I know the Ravens, Torrey Smith will get another chance to make a play before this is over.”

Play 10: On third-and-ten, Joe Flacco hit Anquan Boldin on an 11-yard out. First down.

Play 11: With under 30 seconds left, Joe Flacco over threw David Reed in the end zone.

Play 12: Joe Flacco’s pass intended for Anquan Boldin fell incomplete over the middle of the field.

Play 13: Torrey Smith’s famous redemption, Joe Flacco hit Torrey for a 26-yard touchdown! Torrey showed a glimpse of what he could do with the veteran move to create separation on a simple go route. To this day, this may be the biggest catch of Torrey’s career.

Though I think the “Mile High Miracle” game has surpassed this in Ravens’ lore, I cannot overstate the importance of this game for the Ravens.

Flacco had been blasted that season for his inability to excel against the Steelers, having thrown an average of 176 yards per game against them to that point. His winning drive and 300-yard performance proved Flacco could excel on the biggest stage against one of the best defenses in the league.

The game is especially relevant now. The only coverage of the Ravens by the national media has been negative, and even that has been minimal, just like three years ago. The season is in Week 9, and the Ravens are in a thick competition for the AFC North race, just like three years ago. The Ravens have a chance to make a statement on national television, just like three years ago.

With everyone down on the Ravens, now is an opportunity to repeat history. Here’s hoping the Ravens do it.