Passing game falters as Ravens fall to Steelers

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OWINGS MILLS - Joe Flacco's pass seemingly never had a chance.

Tight end Dennis Pitta was surrounded by three Pittsburgh Steelers defenders as he turned up the right sideline, yet Flacco decided to float a pass in his direction anyway, an ill-advised attempt that was easily intercepted by Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark.

It was that kind of night for Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens' passing game.

Off-target, out of rhythm and plagued by poor decision-making for much of Sunday's 23-20 loss to the Steelers, Flacco finished just 16-of-34 for 188 yards with one touchdown and two turnovers, including the second quarter interception.

His fumble midway through the fourth quarter led to a Steelers game-tying touchdown. And after Flacco and the offense stalled on Baltimore's ensuing possession, Steelers third-string quarterback Charlie Batch, starting in place of injured starter Ben Roethlisberger, guided a game-winning scoring drive that ended with Shaun Suisham's 42-yard field goal as time expired.

"We don't feel good right now, obviously," Flacco said after the game, later adding, "I felt like we could have moved the ball today, and we didn't do what we needed to do to have that happen today."

The Ravens led 13-6 at halftime, but picked up just 97 yards in the second half.

Four of Baltimore's final five possessions ended in either a punt or a turnover.

"We've just got to make plays," Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "It's that simple. They didn't do anything special. We've just got to make plays."

Pittsburgh's offense wasn't perfect either with its third-string quarterback under center, but came to life in the second half.

Batch was limited to just 57 yards through the air in the first half, but led three second half scoring drives, including the two in the fourth quarter.

He finished 25-of-36 for 276 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Batch was making just his ninth start since 2002 and his yardage represented his largest output since 2001.

Batch was 16-of-20 for 219 yards with both the touchdown and the interception in the second half.

He completed five passes of 17 yards or longer during the second half, including a 43-yarder to tight end Heath Miller early in the third quarter that set up a Jonathan Dwyer 16-yard touchdown run.

The Steelers outgained the Ravens 273-97 in the second half and picked up 14 of their 19 first downs after halftime.

"They made plays," Ravens safety Ed Reed said. "They made adjustments to certain things we were running. They made the plays, and we just have to play with better, better composure and be smarter with the ball. You can't turn the ball over [on offense] and you have to get off the field on third down [on defense]. I don't think we did either one."

Batch connected with Miller for a 7-yard touchdown to tie the score at 20 midway through the fourth quarter just four plays after Flacco's fumble gave the Steelers' offense possession at Baltimore's 27-yard line.

Flacco connected with fullback Vonta Leach for a 12-yard gain on the Ravens' next play from scrimmage, but followed with three straight incompletions.

Sam Koch's punt pinned the Steelers at their own 15-yard line, but Batch guided a 12-play, 61-yard drive that ended with Suisham's game-winning field goal as time expired.

"It was a very emotional game, a very disappointing loss, a very tough loss" Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "Compliments to Pittsburgh coming in. They played very well. They did a nice job in the turnover battle, obviously, and won the game. I'm very disappointed. There are a lot of things we could have done better."