Third-string quarterback Dennis Dixon was doing a fine job for the Pittsburgh Steelers in his first NFL start - until he was forced to work overtime.
An interception by rookie Paul Kruger set up a 29-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff with 6:42 left in the extra session, giving the Baltimore Ravens a 20-17 victory Sunday night.
Dixon started because Ben Roethlisberger was sidelined with a concussion and backup Charlie Batch had a broken left wrist. Dixon had thrown only one pass in two seasons before getting the nod against the Ravens.
For much of the game, Dixon did his best impersonation of Roethlisberger. He threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes, and even added a personal touch, running for a 24-yard touchdown to put Pittsburgh up 17-14 in the fourth quarter.
But in overtime, Dixon's lone turnover provided the Ravens (6-5) a much-needed win and sent the Steelers (6-5) to their third straight defeat - their longest skid since a three-game run in 2006.
"We will not go gently," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "We won't go in a shell. We're going to go into attack mode, because that's what's required."
Kruger picked off the pass and returned it 26 yards to the Pittsburgh 28, and six plays later Cundiff delivered the game-winner in Baltimore's first overtime win since November 2005 (against the Steelers).
"To be a part of that victory is huge for me," said Kruger, who was playing in only his fourth game. "It was a designed blitz. I was the dropper. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time."
Pittsburgh's past two defeats have come in overtime. Dixon went 12 for 26 for 145 yards, and Rashard Mendenhall gained 95 yards on 24 carries.
"Please don't talk to me about moral victories and things of that nature," Tomlin said. "That would be disrespectful to those guys in the room. We didn't get the job done; we came up short. We accept responsibility for that."
Joe Flacco completed 23 of 35 passes for 289 yards and a touchdown to keep Baltimore in the thick of the playoff hunt.
"You have to be ready to play 60 minutes. Today we played more than that," Flacco said. "It feels good. It's what we needed. Against these guys, it's even bigger."
The game was a rematch of last season's AFC championship, when the Steelers completed a three-game sweep of the Ravens with a 24-13 victory.
With Roethlisberger in full uniform looking on from the sideline as the third quarterback, Dixon ran around the right end for a touchdown on a third-and-5 from the Baltimore 24 to give the Steelers their first lead, 17-14, with 6:24 left.
But the Ravens came back. Facing a fourth-and-5 from his own 46, Flacco completed a 44-yard pass to Ray Rice to set up a 24-yard field goal by Cundiff with 1:51 to go.
Cundiff came up short on a 56-yard try on the final play of regulation.
Pittsburgh closed to 14-10 in the third quarter when Jeff Reed kicked a 44-yard field goal to end a 24-yard drive that featured a 20-yard pass from Dixon to Mendenhall.
The Ravens took a 14-7 halftime lead by putting together an 89-yard drive late in the second quarter. Flacco completed passes of 11 and 54 yards to Mark Clayton before connecting with Derrick Mason for a 10-yard score.
Baltimore nearly picked off Dixon's first pass and forced a punt on Pittsburgh's first possession. Willis McGahee then capped a 73-yard drive with a 2-yard run, the Ravens' first touchdown on offense before halftime since Oct. 4.
On Pittsburgh's second drive, Dixon had an impromptu 31-yard run wiped out by holding. But there were no flaws the next time he got the ball: Dixon was 3 for 3 for 60 yards, including a touchdown pass to Holmes.