"I've been talking about the character of these guys for quite awhile and I think you saw it tonight," Billick said. "It is something we can and will build on."

Although they had the lead for just 1:45, the Ravens seemingly outplayed Pittsburgh for most of the game.

The Ravens had more yards (318 to 261), had the edge in time of possession (31:04 to 28:56) and converted a higher rate of third downs (50 percent to 33 percent).

The difference was how the Steelers started the game and the second half, beginning with touchdown drives each time.

In those scoring possessions, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 13-for-14 for 112 yards. The rest of the game, he was 5-for-16 for 65 yards.

"Our players know this is still Baltimore," Cowher said. "They still have some good players, and their coach challenged them and they responded."

The first quarter was the one time that the Ravens matched the Steelers with a touchdown.

After the Steelers' 8 1/2 -minute marathon drive, the Ravens were jump-started with a 31-yard pass to Derrick Mason and scored when they converted a third-and-12 at the Steelers' 13-yard line.

Wright eluded a pass rush to find Taylor, who caught the ball at the 10 and leaped high to break the plane of the goal line.

Taylor's first touchdown of the season tied the game at 7 with 1:54 left in the first quarter and ended the Ravens' 20-drive, seven-quarter rut without a touchdown. The Ravens had just one first-quarter touchdown in their first six games.

Early in the second quarter, a Jamal Lewis fumble set up a 42-yard field goal by Jeff Reed, which put Pittsburgh ahead 10-7.

The Ravens came back again on the strength of the passing game, but had to settle for a 22-yard field goal to tie the game at 10 because Wright threw incomplete over the middle on third down when Mason was open on the right side of the end zone.

Dale Carter forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, putting the momentum firmly on the Ravens' side. But after taking over a the Steelers' 29, the Ravens could manage only 4 yards.

Stover's 43-yarder into the open end of Heinz Field hit the right upright, and the Ravens failed to take their first lead of the game. It ended Stover's streak of 10 straight field goals.

The Ravens opened the second half by giving the ball back to the Steelers. Off a trick play, Wright threw to receiver Randy Hymes, who had single coverage downfield, but was intercepted by safety Chris Hope.

Pittsburgh then went on another long drive that mirrored its first drive of the game. Roethlisberger got hot again by connecting on all six of his passes, including the last four in a row of the 10-play drive.

His 8-yard touchdown pass to Miller put the Steelers ahead 17-10 with 7:47 left in the third quarter.

On cue, the Ravens answered with a 17-play, 63-yard drive in which they converted three third downs and one fourth down. But instead of a touchdown, the Ravens could only produce a field goal.

Stover's 40-yarder moved the Ravens within 17-13 a minute into the fourth quarter.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com