OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The last seconds of Baltimore's win against Pittsburgh is a microcosm of how the Ravens have played this season.
Down 14-10 with 55 seconds left to the Steelers, Baltimore needed to go 40 yards without any timeouts. Quarterback Joe Flacco led Baltimore downfield before throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh for a 17-14 victory.
"It was one of the greatest wins we've had since I've been here," Flacco said Monday.
The dramatics capped a four-game stretch in which the Ravens played three of their first four games on the road, beat the Steelers and New York Jets, and tied that left the Baltimore tied for the lead in the AFC North.
"The first quarter of the season is over and to start at 3-1 is definitely a step in the right direction," Flacco said.
The schedule isn't the only obstacle Baltimore has had to overcome. The Ravens' minus-7 turnover differential is among the worst in the NFL, yet they keep winning anyway.
Coach John Harbaugh called Baltimore's start "pretty good, if you just look at the numbers."
"But then again, you always kind of look at the one that got away. We think we should win them all," he said, lamenting a 15-10 defeat at Cincinnati in which Flacco was intercepted four times.
The Ravens were nearly done in by turnovers against Pittsburgh, too. A lost fumble by Willis McGahee and an interception by Flacco led to a pair of field goal tries by Jeff Reed, but he missed them both.
Later, after Flacco's go-ahead touchdown pass, linebacker Ray Lewis cradled Baltimore's first interception of the season. It was only the second turnover caused by the defense in four games.
"I think the biggest thing is the fact that we're minus-7, last in the league, and yet we're 3-1, playing three games on the road, playing three division opponents, playing a team here at home (Cleveland) that's turned out to pretty good," Harbaugh said. "We've managed to still do that when turnovers are the things that really hurts you. That bodes well for us. That's an opportunity for us. That's something that we know we're going to continue to improve on."
Flacco certainly has done his part. Following that awful performance in Cincinnati, he's been picked off once over his last 69 throws.
And no one on this team will soon forget his last toss against the Steelers.
"It's got to be a confidence boost for Joe," Harbaugh said. "But at the same time, I think he's been doing that pretty much since he got here. He's played in some huge games in hostile environments. Count 'em up."
Flacco seemed more bothered by his four interception game than elated over this game-winning toss against the Steelers. He said he watched the replay of the touchdown pass once with the team, then turned his thoughts to Baltimore's next opponent — Denver at home on Sunday.
"Sometimes getting over the interceptions can be harder, and depending on what kind of team you have, getting over the victory can be harder," Flacco said. "But I think we have the right kind of team. It's going to be pretty easy for us to move on and get ready for Denver."