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Instant Analysis: Ravens 23, Steelers 20

The Baltimore Sun's experts react to the Ravens' 23-20 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Ron Fritz, sports editor: The Steelers aren't the same without Ben Roethlisberger, but this game was true to this rivalry. Hard-hitting, great defense and going doing to the wire. It's a game the Ravens absolutely had to have and they fought all the way back to win it. Could it turn the season around? It just might. By the way, whatever amount it takes to lock up Justin Tucker, Steve Bisciotti must pay it.

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Jon Meoli, reporter: How in the world ... Well, by doing everything they haven't done all season: running the ball consistently on first down, making stops on defense late in the game, and by spreading the ball around the offense in the passing game. The latter was forced by a worrisome back injury to Steve Smith Sr., but the Ravens enter the long weekend no longer among the NFL's winless teams, and that's enough for them tonight.

Alexander Pyles, Ravens editor: This game was over so many times before it was actually over. The Ravens owe a big thank you to Steelers backup quarterback Mike Vick, who missed a lot of throws in this game, kicker Josh Scobee, who missed two field-goal attempts that might have iced this game, and the Steelers coaching staff, which inexplicably decided to put the ball in Vick's hands instead of running back Le'Veon Bell on fourth-and-1 in overtime. At the same time, Ravens running back Justin Forsett had 150 yards and wide receivers Darren Waller and Kamar Aiken made big plays late in the game after failing to do so earlier. This might have been one of the ugliest games in the ultra-ugly Ravens-Steelers series -- but what a game it was. For the Ravens, 1-3 with 10 days until their next game, at home against the Cleveland Browns, looks pretty darn good.

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Peter Schmuck, columnist: John Harbaugh shook hands and said some kind words to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, but he really should have kissed him. Tomlin went for it on fourth-and-short in overtime when his team was in field goal range and the Ravens marched back and finally accepted some charity. In this game, neither team could finish in regulation, but the Ravens finally did what they couldn't do the past three weeks. Maybe 1-3 is nothing to write home about, but they kept some hope alive. If they had lost, there would have been none.

Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens bought themselves a little hope with an ugly, resilient win, aided by some odd coaching decisions from Mike Tomlin. With the Browns coming to Baltimore next week and the woeful 49ers up the following Sunday, 3-3 suddenly seems like a genuine possibility. And then who knows? Battered stars, ill-timed turnovers, inadequate execution on simple plays. Pick your poison in explaining why the Ravens stood on the brink of an unthinkable 0-4. Joe Flacco made critical errors, but he was also sacked five times and throwing to a rag-tag bunch of receivers. He still made a heck of a throw to set-up the game-tying field goal. The Ravens might or might not be a good team. They seem to undermine every good thing they do with a  mistake. But they're breathing.

Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: The narrative following the Ravens' pulsating victory over the Steelers will be about them potentially saving the season. That may turn out to be true, but only if they truly show improvement from here. They made plenty of mistakes and needed help from the Steelers' play-calling and field goal kicker. But all that matters to them is that they got their first win. Credit Dean Pees' much-maligned defense for coming up with several late stops. Credit Marc Trestman for sticking with the run game. Credit Joe Flacco for overcoming a relatively poor game and making that huge throw with a Steeler in his face to Kamar Aiken to put Justin Tucker in position to tie the game. And of course, credit Tucker, who is probably the best in the league at what he does.

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