2008 Steelers 38 vs Texans 17
An absolute massacre. Parker slices through Houston for 138 yds and 3 TDs and Big Ben is near-perfect, hitting 13 of 14 for 137 yds with 2 scoring strikes to Hines Ward (6 catches, 76 yds). But it's the defense who truly shines in a rout that begins by stuffing the Texans on 4th-and-inches on their opening possession. James Harrison is already in Defensive MVP form, bludgeoning Matt Schuab for 3 sacks and a forced fumble and leading the team in tackles. Lamaar Woodley is fantastic in his first start, racking up 3 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 QB hurries, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 pass defensed and 1 fumble recovery. Troy Polamalu adds an interception and 3 tackles of his own as the Steelers simply manhandle the overmatched Texans. Houston adds a pair of garbage time TDs after trailing 35-3, but this one is never in doubt.
2008 Steelers 10 at Browns 6 SNF
Ignoring his separated right shoulder and wind gusts of 60 mph on a nasty, rainy night in Cleveland, Big Ben hits Ward for an 11-yd TD strike midway through the 2nd quarter and that's all the points the Steelers need to win their 10th straight over Cleveland. Following his score, Ward celebrates by kicking his feet behind him like a dog doing its business toward the Dawg Pound. LOL. The Browns finally cross midfield in the final 2 minutes of the first half, driving to the Steelers' 11 with 8 seconds left. But Troy Polmalu makes a diving interception of a poorly thrown Derek Anderson pass to end the threat and the half. Jeff Reed adds a 48-yd FG in the 3rd and the Steelers hold off a late Cleveland rally after Phil Dawson kicks FGs of 31 and 38 yds, the second one with 3:21 left to pull the Browns to 10-6. But it's too little, too late as Ben hits Miller for 19 and Willie Parker (28 att, 105 yds) breaks free on a 19-yd run as the Steelers run the clock down.
2008 Steelers 6 at Eagles 15
In all my years of watching Steelers football, I can't ever recall seeing a Steeler QB take a worse beating than Roethlisberger takes in this game. Big Ben is sacked 8 times (Leftwich is sacked once, too), is knocked down at least a dozen more times and is forced to run for his life on nearly every snap. The offensive line serves as little more than a turnstile for Eagle defenders seemingly coming from everywhere, giving up one jailbreak after another while also being called repeatedly for false starts. Roethlisberger, who comes into the game suffering from a separated right shoulder, fumbles twice, is pressured into a safety on a BAD intentional grounding call in the end zone, and throws an interception, finally leaving the game late in the 4th after his throwing hand is stepped on. Willie Parker manages just 20 yds on 13 carries and the entire rushing output for Pittsburgh is 33 yds. Despite their offensive woes, the Steeler defense plays extremely well and keeps Pittsburgh in the game until the final minutes. Troy Polamalu and Bryant McFadden each have interceptions, McFadden recovers a fumble, the Eagles manage only 65 yds rushing and McNabb is sacked 3 times.
2008 Steelers 23 vs Ravens 20 MNF OT
Rookie Mendenhall gets his 1st and last start of the season after an injury on the 1st play of the 2nd quarter lands him on IR. Down to their 4th-string RB and trailing by 10 after meandering through a 1st half filled with mistakes, injuries and poor offensive line play, the Steelers suddenly turn a 13-3 snoozer into a dogfight by scoring 2 TDs in 15 seconds. In an effort to change things up late in the 3rd, the Steelers go no-huddle, letting Ben call the plays in an uptempo attack. The adjustment works as the Steelers need only 1:40 to go 67 yds for a score. On 3rd & 4, Ben steps up to beat the blitz and hits Holmes out of the slot on a crossing route. Holmes bounces off McAllister, makes Reed miss and skips into the end zone for a 38-yd score. On Baltimore's next offensive play, Flacco gets pressure from Woodley and is trying to buy time when James Harrison comes from behind and just demolishes the rookie QB, sending the ball ricocheting toward the end zone. Woodley chases the ball down and falls on the it, rolls to his feet untouched and rumbles into the end zone for Pittsburgh's 2nd TD in 15 seconds. The Steelers add a FG early in the 4th following a signature Big Ben improv in which Bart Scott comes untouched on a blitz and seemingly nails Ben for a sack, but Ben shrugs off the tackle, steps up and hits a WIDE open Ward for a 49-yd gain to the 10-yd line. The Steelers fail to punch it in on 3rd & goal, however, and settle for a short FG (20-13). Baltimore fights back, forcing OT on a short TD run following a drive in which Mason catches 3 passes for 60 yds. In OT, the Ravens win the toss but Steeler LB's continue their reign of terror on Flacco. On 3rd & 10, Lawrence Timmons nails Flacco at the Raven 12 (Pittsburgh's 5th sack of the night), setting up great field position for the Steelers near midfield following the punt. Two clutch completions to reserve RB Mewelde Moore cover 31 yds to set up a 46-yd FG attempt and Reed, as usual, is money.
2008 Steelers 26 at Jaguars 21 SNF
Things seem to pick up where they left off in the '07 playoff loss to Jacksonville as Rashean Mathis picks off Roethlisberger on Pittsburgh's opening drive and returns it 72 yds for a TD. But Ben bounces right back with an 11-play 71-yd drive capped by a short TD pass to Heath Miller. The Jaguars quickly respond with a TD of their own, thanks to a bogus 39-yd PI call on Ike Taylor. With Parker and Mendenhall out, Mewelde Moore gets the start and performs well (17 carries, 99 yds, 3 catches). After adding a Reed FG and forcing a punt in the 2nd quarter, the Steelers take over at their own 18. Despite an ailing shoulder and not throwing in practice all week, Big Ben proceeds to carve up Jacksonville's secondary, hitting Holmes for 19, Washington for 14 and then freezes a Jag CB out of his jock with a fantastic pump fake that leaves Nate Washington WIDE open for a 48-yd bomb and a 17-14 lead. The Steelers drive to the 5 again before halftime but settle for a FG and a 20-14 lead. After no scoring in the 3rd, an unnecessary roughness call early in the 4th quarter extends a J-ville drive and leads to Gerrard's 24-yd TD pass to TE Marcedes Lewis and a 21-20 Jaguar lead. Pittsburgh gets the ball back at their own 20 with 6:39 remaining and Roethlisberger, who finishes with 309 yds and 3 TDs, adds to his legend. On first down, DT John Henderson has "nine-tenths of a sack" but Ben spins out of it and hits Ward for 16. On 3rd & 3, Ben finds Washington for 12 and the drive continues. Following a HUGE Mewelde Moore run for 27 yds, the Steelers face a 3rd & 8 when Roethlisberger makes the throw of the game. On a jailbreak blitz by Jacksonville with a DT hanging onto his jersey and a MLB taking a shot at his head, Ben steps up and gets the pass away, connecting with Ward for 18 yds and a 1st down at the Jag 13. Three plays later, again on 3rd down, Ben throws a perfect fade to Ward in the corner of the end zone for the winning score with 1:53 left. The Jaguars get the ball back for one last drive but run out of downs at their own 34.
2008 Steelers 38 at Bengals 10
Hines Ward lets the Bengals know what kind of a day it's going to be on the 4th play of the game when he fractures LB Keith Rivers' jaw on a bone-crunching, season-ending block, leading to the NFL implementing the "Hines Ward Rule" in the offseason. With Ben's shoulder finally on the mend after a much-needed bye week and Mewelde Moore piling up 120 rushing yds and scoring 3 TDs in relief of Parker, the outcome is never really in question. Pittsburgh sacks Ryan Fitzpatrick 7 times and puts the pedal to the metal for 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter as the Steelers improve to 5-1 and the hapless Bengals fall to 0-7.
2008 Steelers 14 vs Giants 21
In spite of miserable day by Ben Roethlisberger (4 INTs, 5 sacks), the absence of Santonio Holmes due to marijuana possession charges and the loss of Willie Parker and Marvel Smith to injuries, the Steelers cling to a 14-12 lead midway through the 4th thanks to a stellar performance by the defense which holds the Giants to 4 Carney FGs. Early in the 2nd quarter, the Steelers stop an 11-play Giants drive with a brilliant goal line stand, stuffing Brandon Jacobs 3 consecutive times from the 1-yard line on 2nd, 3rd and 4th down. But the game takes a bizarre turn when James Harrison (subbing for injured long snapper Greg Warren, who was carted off earlier in the game) snaps the ball over the head of punter Mitch Berger and out of the back of the end zone for a Giant safety to tie the game. After the free kick, New York seizes momentum and mounts a 7-play drive from midfield, capped by a 2-yd Manning TD to Kevin Boss for the Giant win.
2008 Steelers 23 at Redskins 6 MNF
Another fantastic performance by the Steeler defense. Washington takes an early 6-0 lead after a failed Steelers surprise onside kick and an INT of a tipped pass lead to a pair of FGs in the first 4 minutes of the game. From there, Pittsburgh's top-rated defense simply throttles Washington, sacking Jason Campbell 7 times, limiting Clinton Portis to 51 harmless yards and not allowing a Redskins first down until late in the 3rd quarter. The Steelers take a 10-6 lead after a blocked punt gives Pittsburgh the ball at the Washington 13, setting up a Roethlisberger 1-yard TD on a QB sneak at the end of the first half. Ben reinjures his throwing shoulder on the score and Byron Leftwich (7 of 10, 129 yds, 1 TD) comes off the bench to seal the deal with a pair of 2nd half TD drives. Meanwhile, Washington's only legitimate TD threat of the game ends on a failed 4th down attempt from the Steeler 1 after a brilliant goal line stand in the 4th quarter. In spite of this being a Washington home game, the stands are FILLED with so many towel-waving Steelers fans that the visiting Steelers players actually incite the crowd to make noise during several big defensive moments.
2008 Steelers 20 vs Colts 24
Despite jumping out to a 17-7 lead, a costly Big Ben INT sets up Peyton Manning at the Steeler 32 late in the game and Manning quickly capitalizes, finding Dominic Rhodes for a 17-yd TD pass with 3 minutes left to give Indianapolis their first lead of the game. Roethlisberger, playing despite a separated shoulder that kept him out of practice all week, drives Pittsburgh to the Indy 27 for one final chance to win, but his pass to Nate Washington is intercepted in the end zone on the final play of the game.
2008 Steelers 11 vs Chargers 10
A bizarre game on a cold, snowy day, bookended by amazing Troy Polamalu highlights at the start and finish and plagued by questionable officiating. Polamalu's now-famous diving, one-handed "scooping" interception of a tipped pass -- fractions of an inch off the snowy turf -- lets Phillip Rivers know what kind of a day he is going to have. But the play results in a Jeff Reed missed FG, also letting Pittsburgh know what kind of a day it's going to be. Big Ben (31 of 41, 308 yds), Willie Parker (25 att, 115 yds) and Hines Ward (11 rec, 124 yds) all have strong performances. But in spite of moving the ball up and down the field for over 400 yards, the Steelers' scoring output is 3 FGs (the final one with 11 seconds left) and a 2nd quarter safety on a James Harrison sack, due in part to 13 penalties for 115 yds and 2 overturned TDs by the officials. Thanks to another simply incredible performance by Pittsburgh's defense in which Tomlinson is held to 57 yards and Rivers is sacked 4 times and forced into 2 INTs, not many points are needed. Trailing 10-8 late in the game, the Steelers offense mounts a 13-play, 73-yd drive that eats up 6-1/2 minutes and ends in Reed's game-winning FG. The 11-10 final score is a surprising first in NFL history, but it only happens due to an officiating error. With 5 seconds remaining from their own 21, Rivers throws a short pass over the middle to Tomlinson, who laterals to Chambers, who pitches the ball to a teammate only to have Polamalu swat it away, scoop it up and take it into the end zone from the 12 for an apparent TD. But the bumbling officiating crew, apparently intent on blowing one last call, incorrectly rules the play was dead on an illegal forward lateral, preserving the final score at 11-10 instead of 18-10.
2008 Steelers 27 vs Bengals 10 TNF
Dominating defense and "just enough" offense wins again as the Steelers suffocate the Bengals on a cold, windy, snowy Thursday night. After the Bengals take a surprising early 7-0 lead, Pittsburgh's top-rated defense (ranked #1 in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense and sacks) clamps down HARD, allowing Cinci just 1 first down in their next 8 drives and rendering a turnover in Pittsburgh territory meaningless after a punt bounces off a confused Limas Sweed just before halftime. Big Ben (17 of 30, 243 yds) throws for 1 TD (Heath Miller) and scrambles for another as the Steelers dominate time of possession 35:20 - 24:40 and hold Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Ocho Cinco-less Bengals under 100 yds passing until late in the game.
2008 Steelers 33 at Patriots 10
After a somewhat shaky, mistake-filled first half ends in a 10-10 tie on a cold, windy and rainy night in Foxboro, the Steeler defense opens up a can of second-half whoop-@$$ on New England, forcing 5 turnovers (2 INTs and 3 fumbles), nailing Matt Cassell for 4 of their 5 sacks and holding the Patriots to a paltry 81 yds of offense. Meanwhile, the Steelers (in spite of multiple drops by their WRs) score 23 points to turn the game into a runaway. For those of you who enjoy seeing DB's light up WR's, there's a great moment at the 97:48 mark when Ryan Clark introduces himself to Wes Welker... definitely worth seeing and hearing. :) Also includes an awesome (yet amusing) 89-yd INT return by Lawrence Timmons in which he runs out of gas at the 1-yd line. Gary Davis plunges into the end zone 2 plays later to score Pittsburgh's 30th unanswered point.
2008 Steelers 20 vs Cowboys 13
This 5-star slugfest, fought on a bitterly cold day with a windchill in the teens, epitomizes the "never say die" attitude of the 2008 Steelers. Already trailing 13-3 early in the 4th quarter, things go from bad to worse when the Steelers are stopped for a loss on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line. The jubilant Cowboys wildly celebrate their goal line stand, seeming to forget that nearly a full quarter of football remains. Dallas is soon forced to punt, and that's when Pittsburgh begins their Texas-sized comeback, jamming 17 points into the final 8 minutes (including 2 TDs in a span of 24 seconds). Following a Jeff Reed FG (the result of a fantastic Santonio Holmes punt return to the Dallas 25) which narrows the score to 13-6, Pittsburgh forces a quick 3-and-out and proceeds to engineer their only meaninful offensive drive of the game. On the drive, Roethlisberger completes 3 passes to Nate Washington covering 51 yards, scrambles for 9 yds, burrows for a 1st down on a 4th-and-inches QB sneak and finally hits Heath Miller for a 6-yd TD to tie the game 13-13 with 2:04 left. Despite throwing a pair of INTs to Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor and losing a fumble on a sack by James Harrison, Tony Romo finds himself with the ball, 3 timeouts and 2 minutes remaining providing a golden opportunity to go out and win the game. But this is Blitzburgh, and Romo is Romo. On 2nd & 8 from the Dallas 17, a blitz by LaMarr Woodley forces an errant Romo pass that sails high over the head of Jason Witten and into the waiting arms of Deshea Townsend, who sprints 25 yds down the left sideline and dives into the end zone for a stunning pick-6, sealing one of the greatest regular season wins in Steelers history.
2008 Steelers 13 at Ravens 9
For over 59 bone-jarring minutes, the NFL's #1 and #2 defenses do not allow a touchdown. But with 43 seconds remaining, Ben Roethlisberger caps a marathon 92-yd drive with a controvertial, improvizational 4-yd TD pass to Santonio Holmes to secure the AFC North crown and a first round bye for Pittsburgh. On the critical 3rd down play, Ben rolls left, seems to consider running, then reverses his field, spots Holmes and fires back across the field to his right. Holmes catches it right at the goal line with both feet in the end zone, but the officials initially spot it inches from the end zone. After further review, however, the ruling is changed to a touchdown. While Ward has a big game (8 catches for 107 yds) and Ben is clutch when it counts with 130 of his 246 yds coming in the 4th quarter, rookie Joe Flacco has a miserable game, completing just 11 of 28 for 115 yds, 2 sacks and 2 INTs, one early to Ryan Clark and one by William Gay that ends Baltimore's desperation drive at the end. It's worth noting that Big Ben's late game heroics are only made possible by a HUGE Lawrence Timmons sack late in the 4th quarter. On 3rd down with the Ravens leading 9-6 and in position for a likely FG at the Steeler 27, Lawrence Timmons nails Flacco from behind and forces a fumble. The Ravens recover at the 41 but are forced to punt, setting up one of the most memorable regular-season drives in Steelers history.
2008 Steelers 14 at Titans 31
Never mind what happened on the field. The Titans were hungrier and the Steelers were exhausted and had a letdown after their huge last-second win over the Ravens. The real story here occurs on the sideline in the waning moments of the game when idiot Titans players Keith Bulluck, LenDale White and Javon Kearse forever seal Tennessee's fate when they desecrate the Terrible Towel by stomping on it, grinding it into the dirt and kicking it. Did they not learn from Chargers in 1995? Or TJ Houshmandzadeh and the Bengals in 2005??? Because after disrespecting the Towel, the 13-2 Titans go on to lose their next game... and their next (one and done in the playoffs)... and their next... and their next... to the tune of 8 straight losses. Meanwhile, the Steelers go on to win their 6th Super Bowl as Myron Cope smiles down from heaven.
2008 Steelers 31 vs Browns 0
The biggest news in what otherwise amounts to a dress rehearsal for the playoffs is a scary moment when Big Ben, who is only slated to play in the first half, sustains a consussion after being leveled by Willie McGinest and D'Qwell Jackson on a borderline late hit. After 15 agonizing minutes of lying motionless on the turf, Ben leaves the field strapped to a stretcher, flashing a brief "thumbs up." Thankfully, none of his injuries prove to be serious. With the Steelers focused on running, Willie Parker has a good day, rushing for 116 yds including a speedy 34-yd TD run down the right sideline. Meanwhile, the Steeler defense simply throttles Cleveland, allowing only 26 passing yds the entire game. Yes, that's a real stat! Cleveland QB Bruce Gradkowski is sacked 3 times and completes only 5 of 16 passes for 18 yds and 2 INTs (a passer rating of 1.0) and Josh Cribbs hits an option pass for 8 yards. Browns head coach Romeo Crennel, after going 0-8 against Pittburgh in Cleveland, is fired the following day.
2008 Post Season
2008 AFC Playoffs Steelers 35 vs Chargers 24
The Steelers spot the Chargers a 7-0 lead on Vincent Jackson's acrobatic 41-yd catch just 4 plays into the game, but Santonio Holmes makes a pair of would-be tacklers miss on an electric 67-yd punt return for a TD to even the score and it's all Pittsburgh from there. A now-healthy Willie Parker piles up 146 yds and 2 TDs on 27 carries and Ben bounces back from his concussion to throw for a score and lead the efficient, mistake-free offense to 35 points. With LaDainian Tomlinson out with a groin injury, Darren Sproles does some damage in the return game and catches a long pass in garbage time, but is held to only 15 yds in 11 carries on the ground. The 3rd quarter is quite literally ALL Steelers as Pittsburgh opens the second half with a marathon 13-play, 8-minute scoring drive capped by a Roethlisberger TD pass to Miller. The Chargers then run their only offensive play in the entire 3rd quarter -- a Phillip Rivers pass that is intercepted by Larry Foot -- and thanks in part to a punt that bounces comically off the helmet of Eric Weddle and into the arms of and William Gay to extend a Pittsburgh drive that continues into the 4th quarter. Parker adds a late TD to seal the deal and the Steelers move on to their their rubber match vs. Baltimore in the AFC Championship.
2008 AFC Championship Steelers 23 vs Ravens 14
Pittsburgh wins the rubber match, holding the Ravens to 184 yds and forcing 5 turnovers en route to their 7th trip to the Super Bowl. Ben comes out slinging it, splitting safeties Leonhard and Reed on 3rd & 12 with a perfect 20-yd dart to Ward, who breaks away for a 45-yd gain to set up an early FG. The Steelers get another chance after a Townsend INT of a terrible Flacco pass. Following a clutch but costly 3rd and 10 conversion that sends Ward to the slideline with a knee sprain, Ben hits Santonio Holmes for what appears to be a TD on a beautiful seam route. But the officials overturn the play and rule it incomplete (incorrectly, in my opinion), so the Steelers settle for another Reed FG. A Parker fumble sets up Baltimore in Steeler territory, but the Ravens fail to convert on 4th and inches thanks to an amazing, perfectly-timed leap over center by Polamalu, who then throttles Flacco for no gain. Early in the 2nd quarter, Ben comes through on another 3rd and long, shuffling left to avoid the rush, then stepping up and throwing back across the field to Holmes who avoids a slipping DB, breaks into the open and weaves 65 yds for a TD to make it 13-0. After a long punt return sets up a McGahee TD, the Steelers blow two golden opportunities to score before halftime. First, a WIDE open Limas Sweed drops a perfect 50-yd TD bomb from Ben (and then costs the Steelers a timeout by acting like he is hurt). The Steelers then drive to the Ravens 11-yd line but fail to spike the ball before time in the half expires, leaving 3 more points on the field. Midway through the 3rd, Reed hits his 3rd FG of the game, making it 16-7. But the Ravens take advantage of a short field thanks to a terrible punt and narrow the score to 16-14 on a McGahee 1-yd plunge, then force a punt and get the ball back on their own 14 with 6 minutes to play. On 3rd and 13 with 4 minutes remaining, Polamalu reads Flacco's eyes, steps under the route run by Derrick Mason to intercept the pass and cuts back across the field, evading most of the Ravens' roster on his way to the end zone for a wild 40-yd TD return, sealing a trip to Super Bowl XLIII.
Super Bowl XLIII Steelers 27 vs Cardinals 23
The Steelers earn one for the other thumb in a WILD comeback! Roethlisberger starts 8 of 9 for 122 yds and exercises any demons from Super Bowl XL on the game's opening drive, hitting Ward for 38 and Miller for 21 before scrambling into the end zone himself for an apparent TD. Replay overturns the score, however, and the Steelers settle for a short FG. Arizona goes 3 & out and Ben continues his aerial assualt, hitting Holmes 3 times for 37 and Miller 3 times for 26, including a signature Big Ben moment in which Ben scrambles left, scrambles right, gets spun around and then throws back across the field to Miller to convert a crucial 3rd & 10. Gary Russell caps the drive on a 1-yd TD plunge for a 10-0 lead early in the 2nd.
The Cards, outgained 137-3, finally wake up on a 45-yd catch and run by Boldin to set up Warner's 1-yd TD jump pass to Ben Patrick. Following a Roethlisberger pass that is tipped at the line and floats into the arms of Karlos Dansby, the Cards drive to the Steeler 1 with 18 seconds left in the half. That's when NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison makes the greatest defensive play in Super Bowl history. On gut instinct (at the 81:31 mark), Harrison fakes a blitz and drops into coverage, stepping right in front of a quick slant intended for Boldin at the goal line and the race is on. Following a convoy of blockers, Harrison rumbles 100 yds down the right sideline, picking up blocks and dodging would-be tacklers along the way, finally falling across the goal line with Larry Fitzgerald draped on his back as time expires in the half. The record-setting return creates a 14-point swing and gives the Steelers a 17-7 halftime lead.
After some oxygen and a Bruce Springsteen halftime show, the Steelers start the 3rd quarter with another long scoring drive (14 plays, 8:39). But despite two 1st downs inside the 10 (after a roughing penalty on a FG try), Pittsburgh settles for a FG and fails to put the game away. Warner makes them pay, leading the Cards on a fast-paced, no-huddle 87-yd scoring drive ending in a beautiful TD fade pass to Fitzgerald who outleaps Ike Taylor, narrowing the score to 20-14. After exchanging punts, the Steelers find themselves pinned on their own 1-yd line. On 3rd & 10, Ben seems to seal the game with a clutch 19-yd completion to Holmes. But center Justin Hartwig is flagged for holding in the end zone, wiping out the catch and giving the Cards a safety, closing the score to 20-16. And then, disaster. Following the free kick, Warner needs just 2 plays to score. With both Steeler safeties taking away the deep outside, Warner hits Fitzgerald on a shallow crossing route. Fitz catches the ball in stride, steps out of a diving tackle attempt by Taylor and streaks untouched down the middle of the field for a 64-yd score, watching himself on the Jumbo-Tron on his way into the end zone for a shocking 23-20 Cards lead.
The Steelers get the ball back on their own 22 with 2:37 left and 2 timeouts only to suffer a holding penalty on their first play, pushng them back to the 12. Time for Big Ben to add to his legend. On 1st down, Roethlisberger escapes an intense pass rush in the shadow of his own goal post to hit Holmes for 14. On 3rd and 6, Ben pumps, waits, then steps under a blitzer and hits Holmes for 13. Then a quick pass to Washington for 11 and a 1st down at midfield. On 2nd down after a short scramble, Ben drops back, makes a beautiful pump-fake to Moore in the flat to draw coverage and hits a wide open Holmes who spins, fakes Francisco off his feet, then darts and weaves 40 yds to the Arizona 6 with 49 seconds left. Time out. On 1st down, Ben pump-fakes right, then fires a perfect strike to Holmes in the left corner of the end zone only to have the ball slip right through Santonio's outstretched hands.
Then... a play for the ages.
On 2nd and goal, Ben drops back, looks right, looks left, looks middle, shuffles his feet and points, then fires a LASER to Holmes over three Arizona defenders in the back right corner of the end zone. POP! Holmes extends as far as he can, toes dragging inches from the sideline, and snares the ball at it's highest point before falling out of bounds with 0:35 on the clock. The official rushes in and raises his arms to signal touchdown and pandemonium breaks out. It's one of the great catches of all time, it earns MVP honors for Holmes and it brings an unprecedented 6th Lombardi Trophy to Pittsburgh. The Cards have one last gasp chance, but Woodley sacks Warner and forces a fumble, Brett Keisel recovers and Pittsburgh becomes Sixburgh!
A HUGE gold star thank you goes out to Keith "Crash" Froehlich for generously (and tirelessly) digitizing the entire 2004, 2005 and 2008 seasons for the rest of us to enjoy. Kudos, Crash!