PITTSBURGH - The Ravens' offense could seemingly do no right.
Joe Flacco struggled against the Steelers' top-ranked pass defense, Ray Rice was held in check by Pittsburgh's rush defense and Baltimore was held without a single offensive touchdown.
But the Ravens got a touchdown return from Jacoby Jones for the second straight week, kept the Steelers out of the end zone following an early first quarter score and managed to pull out an important 13-10 victory against rival Pittsburgh Sunday night at Heinz Field.
"Whatever procedure my brother had, I think I'm going to need. My heart's beating a little fast right now," Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh joked after the game, referencing a minor heart procedure his brother, Jim, had earlier in the week.
With the win, Baltimore (8-2) takes a two-game lead on the Steelers (6-4) for first place in the AFC North.
The Ravens were outgained 311-200, held to their lowest offensive output of the season, but never relinquished the lead following Jones' 63-yard punt return for a touchdown that staked them a 10-7 advantage midway through the first quarter.
Baltimore picked up just 12 first downs, including only four in the second half, Flacco finished with just 164 yards passing, Rice was limited to 40 yards on 20 carries and the Ravens were held to just 64 yards of total offense in the second half. Yet, it proved to be enough as Pittsburgh's offense sputtered without injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
His replacement, Byron Leftwich, capped the Steelers' opening possession with a 31-yard touchdown run, but he finished just 17-of-38 for 201 yards with an interception and no touchdown passes.
He had the Steelers driving for a potential game-tying or go-ahead score midway the fourth quarter, but was sacked on a third-and-11 after Pittsburgh had worked the ball to Baltimore's 43-yard line.
The Steelers were forced to punt with 4:21 left in the quarter and the Ravens' offense followed by picking up two first downs. Pittsburgh's offense eventually got the ball back at its own 16-yard line with just more than a minute remaining, but it picked up just 12 yards before being forced to resort to laterals on the last play of the game, an unsuccessful sequence that ended with a fumble recovery by Baltimore linebacker Courtney Upshaw.
"This was just a great win," Harbaugh said. "Congratulations to Pittsburgh. They played their hearts out, like they always do. And congratulations to our team. They played their hearts out, like they always do, finding a way to win a very tough football game the way we did."
Sunday marked the ninth time in the last 11 meetings between the Ravens and Steelers that the game was decided by a touchdown or less.
"It's never pretty in this game," Harbaugh said. "I think it's the usual, the three-point spread. Isn't that what these usually are? So we got a typical Pittsburgh-Baltimore game.
"That was a great defensive struggle, which is not unusual."
And while the Ravens were held without an offensive touchdown, their defense forced either a turnover or a punt on 11 of Pittsburgh's final 12 possessions.
"As the game went on, I think after that first drive, we stepped it up and got a great defensive performance the rest of the game outside of the first drive," Baltimore defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said.
With the win, the Ravens improve to 8-2 for the first time under Harbaugh and for just the second time in franchise history.
Baltimore id one of just six teams in the AFC with a winning record. The Texans (9-1) are the only team in the conference with a better record than Baltimore.
"I'm happy right now," Jones said. "8-2, can't complain."