2003 Steelers 34 vs Ravens 15
Plaxico Burress dominates cornerback Chris McAlister for 6 catches and 116 yds and delivers the game's biggest play on a 47-yd bomb from Tommy Maddox to the Ravens' 8. Two plays later, Maddox hits Ward (9 catches, 91 yds and 2 TDs) for a 4-yd TD that makes it 13-0 at halftime. Pittsburgh terrorizes rookie QB Kyle Boller in his first start and builds a 27-0 lead on 3 straight Maddox TD passes before the Ravens finally score on Jamal Lewis's run late in the third quarter. For the game, Maddox completes 21 of 29 for 260 yds and 3 TDs against Baltimore's shell-shocked secondary.
2003 Steelers 17 at Bengals 10
With the Steelers clinging to a 7-3 lead midway through the 3rd quarter, Jerome Bettis comes off the bench and puts the Bengals away, running 6 straight times including a 1-yd TD plunge to extend Pittsburgh's lead to 14-3. Bettis bulldozes his way into FG range on Pittsburgh's next drive early in the 4th quarter to turn what had been a tight game into a 17-3 Steeler lead. Cinci fights back and scores on a Kitna TD pass with 6 minutes left and again, the Steelers turn to Bettis to muscle down the clock, old-school Pittsburgh style, and the drive ends with Maddox taking a knee in victory formation as time runs out. Bettis' final stats are not impressive (16 carries, 59 yds, 1 TD), but his impact on the game was immeasurable.
2003 Steelers 28 vs Cardinals 15
Jason Gildon moves ahead of LC Greenwood to become Pittsburgh's all-time sack leader as the Steelers end a 5-game losing streak with an explosive 3rd quarter. The Steelers enter the 2nd half with a slim 7-3 lead, but a Gildon sack of Jeff Blake on pins AZ at the Steeler 3. A terrible punt by Scott Player travels only 24 yds and the Steelers take advantage of the great field position as Maddox hits Ward for a 5-yd TD 3 plays later. Following the ensuing kickoff, DeShea Townsend -- who has 7 tackles and breaks up 2 passes -- nails Blake for a sack on a corner blitz, forcing a fumble that Kimo von Oelhoffen recovers at the Cardinal 22. The Steelers need only one play to score their 2nd TD in 65 seconds, a 22-yd Maddox-to-Ward to make it 21-3. Lightning strikes again a few minutes later when Randle El following great special teams blocking and returns a punt 52 yds for TD to ostensibly put the game away at 28-3.
2003 Steelers 13 at Browns 6
Bettis becomes the 5th player in NFL history to surpass 3000 carries, gaining 93 yds on 24 attempts while helping overcome a dismal performance by Maddox, who finishes 9 of 24 for 73 yds. Thankfully, the defense is FINALLY able to generate some much-needed turnovers, forcing 3 fumbles -- 2 deep in Cleveland territory -- which ultimately lead to all 13 of Pittsburgh's points. In a pivotal 3rd quarter, Pittsburgh's defense also stuffs Cleveland on 3 straight runs on 2nd, 3rd and 4th-and-goal from the 1, then intercepts Holcomb in the end zone on Cleveland's ensuing drive after the Browns drive to the Steeler 6. Footage includes some postgame.
2003 Steelers 20 vs Bengals 24
Hines Ward catches a career-high 13 passes for 149 yds and a TD in a truly sickening loss to the Bengals. The Steelers rally from a 14-3 deficit to take a 20-17 lead with a just 1:05 left after Tommy Maddox hits 9 of 10 for 78 yds on an 80-yd hurry-up drive, culminating in a perfect 16-yd TD pass to Ward. But after Jeff Reed's short kickoff into the wind is returned to the Bengals' 48, the Steeler defense utterly collapses. Jon Kitna hits Peter Warrick for 18, runs a draw for 16, then hits Matt Schobel in the end zone behind James Farrior for the 18-yd game-winner with 13 seconds left.
2003 Steelers 27 vs Raiders 7
The Steelers play their best game since the season opener vs. Baltimore, outgaining the Raiders 399-161 while brutalizing Rick Mirer (10 of 25, 68 yds, 0 TD, 2 Ints). Kimo von Oelhoffen records 3 of Pittsburgh's 4 sacks and Bettis becomes Pittsburgh's first 100-yd rusher of the season with 106 yds on 27 carries, moving past Thurman Thomas into 9th place for career rushing yards. But Antwaan Randle el is the real playmaker on the day, setting up 3 scores with several clutch catches, an 18-yd run and punt returns of 51 and 26 yds.
2003 Steelers 0 at Jets 6
Despite blizzard-like conditions with heavy snow and 30 mph winds, RB Curtis Martin has a ridiculous game with 228 all-purpose yds, piling up 174 rushing yds on 30 carries and adding 54 more receiving yds on 4 catches. All that production leads to only 2 Doug Brien FGs, but it's enough to earn a Jets win as Jeff Reed misses his both of his FG attempts (42 and 20 yds) wide left, officially eliminating the Steelers from playoff contention.
2003 Steelers 40 vs Chargers 24
I attended this game at Heinz field and it's not what happens during the game but before the game that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt how different and special the Pittsburgh Steelers are. It was a 4 pm game but we were there way early and already in our usual parking spot at the corner of Allegheny and Western by 10:30 am or so. I was with a friend who had never been to a Steelers game before and in spite of temps in the mid-30's, we wanted to beat the crowd, wander around the stadium area a little and maybe hit some sports bars before the game. As we're getting ready to head toward the stadium, we look across the street near McDOnald's and there is none other than Mr. Dan Rooney -- all bundled up and by himself -- walking down Allegheny Ave. toward the stadium! So Billy and I looked at each other and then shouted, "Hey, Mr. Rooney! We love you, man," or something dorky along those lines and Mr. Rooney glanced up, gave a little half salute and continued his steady, rather stiff walk. It was truly amazing. I mean, can you imagine the likes of Jerry Jones walking to the stadium? In cold weather, no less! God bless the Rooney's for the wonderful example they set. Oh, yeah... the game was a nice win in the midst of a tough season. Strong performances by Bettis (32 carries, 115 yds, 1 TD), Maddox (11 of 18, 160 yds, 3 TDs) and Deshea Townsend (2 INTs, 1 TD).
2003 Steelers 10 at Ravens 13 OT
Needing 154 yds to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record, Jamal Lewis falls 40 yds short, grinding out 114 yds on 27 carries to finish the season with 2066 yds. This game features one of the most bizarre plays in Steeler history. After Ray Lewis returns a Maddox INT to the Steeler 11, Jamal Lewis coughs up the ball and the Steelers recover. The Steelers are soon faced with a 4th-and-1 from their own 19. But instead of punting, Josh Miller takes the snap and flips a short pass to safety Chris Hope in the flat. Hope easily picks up the first down, then just keeps running. And running. And running. Hope picks up a block, cuts all the way across the field, picks up more blocks and finally winds his way into the end zone to complete an improbable 81-yd TD pass from a punter to tie the game. In overtime, Matt Stover kicks a 47-yd FG to win it for Baltimore, dropping the Steelers to 6-10. There is a huge silver lining to this loss, however, as it ultimately positions the Steelers to select Ben Roethlisberger in the 2004 NFL draft.