PITTSBURGH -- The Baltimore Ravens got physical again in the most physical rivalry in football.
Running back Justin Forsett, who was 33rd in the NFL in rushing before Thursday night's game, ran for 150 yards on 27 carries and kept the offense churning in overtime. This was 26 yards more than what Forsett had gained in the first three games.
With wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. sidelined in the fourth quarter and overtime, Forsett stepped up to be the playmaker the Ravens desperately needed, totaling 105 yards rushing after halftime. On a night when Joe Flacco turned the ball over twice and the Ravens made curious calls on fourth down, Forsett took advantage of the running lanes and helped Baltimore avoid an 0-4 start in a 23-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What it means: The Ravens keep their fleeting hopes alive. In what looks to be a wide-open wild-card race, Baltimore now can make it interesting if it wins at home against the Cleveland Browns and beats the San Francisco 49ers on the road over the next two weeks. The Ravens avoided their first four-game losing streak under coach John Harbaugh. Interestingly enough, Baltimore is just one game back of the Steelers.
What were they thinking: The Ravens' fake punt in the third quarter. Trailing 20-14, Baltimore could've made it a one-score game by kicking a 37-yard field goal. Instead, the Ravens went for a fake field goal on fourth-and-2. Tight end Nick Boyle took the pitch from holder Sam Koch and got dropped for a 3-yard loss by Sean Spence. That was certainly a head-scratcher.
One reason to be optimistic: The run game re-emerged. The offensive line opened up lanes for the first time all season, and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman committed to the ground game. Baltimore averaged 4.9 yards per rush and totaled more yards rushing (191) than net passing (165).
One reason to panic: Flacco's turnovers. Flacco was picked off in the second quarter, which took points away from the Ravens. It was his NFL-worst 27th interception on the road since 2013. On the opening drive of the third quarter, Flacco was stripped in Ravens territory. His first lost fumble in 27 games led to a 9-yard touchdown pass from Michael Vick to Darrius Heyward-Bey. These aren't the type of mistakes you want from a $120 million quarterback.
Fantasy watch: Smith. He was unable to keep up his torrid pace, finishing with 24 yards receiving on four catches. Defenses are going to key on him more and more because he is the only dependable receiver. Smith had been only the sixth player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 10 catches and 150 yards receiving in consecutive games.
Streak over: Le'Veon Bell ended the Ravens' streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher at 29 games. It was the longest active streak in the NFL.
Ouch: Smith left late in the third quarter with a lower-back contusion and didn't return. TE Crockett Gillmore (calf), T Eugene Monroe (concussion), DE Chris Canty (calf) and WR Breshad Perriman (knee) were inactive.
What's next: The Ravens return home to play the Browns (1-2) on Oct. 11. Baltimore has beaten Cleveland seven straight times at M&T Bank Stadium.