BALTIMORE _ Ben Roethlisberger took the field at M&T Bank Stadium with a broken foot, but that quickly became less of an issue.
"It hurt a lot," Roethlisberger acknowledged in the wee hours after the Steelers' come-from-behind, 13-10 triumph over the Ravens put them in control of the AFC North Division race. "But the broken nose took some of the pain away."
Roethlisberger sustained a broken nose on the Steelers' first series after getting clubbed in the face by Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Although bloodied, literally, Roethlisberger was still standing and firing in the face of the Ravens' pass rush on the Steelers' final series.
His last pass went for a 9-yard touchdown to running back Isaac Redman that produced a 13-10 Steelers lead with 2:51 remaining in regulation.
It came on third-and-goal from just inside the Baltimore 10-yard line out of an empty set that featured Reedman and wide receiver Mike Wallace deployed to Roethlisberger's left and tight end David Johnson, wide receiver Hines Ward and wide receiver Mike Wallace on the right side.
Redman and Ward were the "hot reads," the Steelers' options on the play in the event Baltimore blitzed.
Baltimore did. When Roethlisberger determined that the pressure was coming from his left, Redman became the man.
"We liked it," Roethlisberger said of the empty looks three wide receivers, a running back and a tight end or four wide receivers and a tight end that the Steelers relied upon more frequently as the game progressed. "Obviously, the touchdown to Isaac was an empty; they blitzed everybody.
"I tried to remind Isaac that, 'Hey it's coming to you. I have a chance to come to you.' He did the rest himself, he was the guy. He was one of the few guys we had on that play. I think Hines was on the other side so it's something where I pick a side and make the play.
"All I have to do is just get him the ball. It looked like he bounced off a few guys. His will to get in the end zone was great."
Redman cut across the field underneath Wallace, caught the ball, ran through safety Dawan Landry at the Baltimore 6-yard line and then away from linebacker Ray Lewis before eluding defensive end Jarret Johnson at the 2-yard line and cornerback Fabian Washington at the goal line on the way into the end zone.
Redman was more excited afterward about recounting Roethlisberger's performance.
"He was great," Redman said. "One of the best performances I've ever seen. He's out there with a broken foot, nose busted up, blood everywhere. He's a warrior. That's the type of guy you want leading you.
"Our team needed it. I'm proud to be the guy to deliver that touchdown. It was a 12-round fight. I take my hat off to the defense for giving us that opportunity to go in there and score that touchdown. I just feel good to be able to go out there and help us win the game."
The opportunity had been created by strong safety Troy Polamalu's sack/strip of quarterback Joe Flacco that LaMarr Woodley recovered and returned to the Baltimore 9-yard line.
"That says a lot about the character of our team," Redman said. "We fight hard. We fight to the end."