A HUGE gold star thank you goes out to Barry Blyler for generously contributing the 2011 season for the rest of us to enjoy. Kudos, Barry!
2011 Regular Season
2011 Steelers 7 at Ravens 35
The Steelers lose the turnover battle 7-0 in a season-opening bloodbath. Ben Roethlisberger is responsible for 6 of those turnovers, throwing 3 INTs, losing 2 fumbles on sacks and losing another fumble on a bad handoff exchange. Terrell Suggs has 3 sacks for the Ravens, Ed Reed has 2 INTs, Ray Rice rushes for 107 yds and Joe Flacco throws 3 TDs. A very embarrassing start to the season.
2011 Steelers 24 vs Seahawks 0
Despite taking a brutal shot to his knee (which draws a flag but wasn't a "cheap shot" IMO), Ben Roethlisberger perseveres to complete 20 of 30 for 298 yds and a TD. The Steelers, still salty after their horrific opening day loss to Baltimore, absolutely demolish the Seahawks, outgaining Seattle 421-164 and amassing a 38:44 - 21:16 edge in time of possession. The Steelers are so dominant that Seattle doesn't take a snap in Pittsburgh territory until the 4th quarter.
2011 Steelers 23 at Colts 20 SNF
Facing a vastly inferior team that should've been easily vanquished, the Steelers jump out to a 10-0 lead courtesy of a beautiful Roethlisberger 81-yd bomb to speedster Mike Wallace, who exceeds 100-yds for the 3rd straight week. But the Steelers stumble through a miserable 2nd quarter in which Big Ben throws an INT and loses 2 fumbles -- one of which is returned 47 yds for a TD -- and trail 13-10 at the half. The score is still 13-10 at the start of the 4th quarter before the Steelers finally shake out the cobwebs, tying the game on a 44-yd Suisham FG. Minutes later, Pittsburgh retakes the lead on a brilliant sack/fumble by James Harrison, who blindsides reserve QB Curtis Painter. The ball bounces right to Troy Polamalu, who snatches it out of the air and trots 16 yds into the end zone for an easy score. But the Steeler defense fails to seal the deal, giving up a frustrating 10-play, 80-yd TD drive by the Colts to tie the game with 2 minutes left. Thankfully, Ben is Ben, and 2 minutes is WAY too much time. Roethlisberger calmly maneuvers the Steelers from his own 20 to the Colts 20, setting up Suisham's 38-yd game winner with 4 seconds left.
2011 Steelers 10 at Texans 17
There are enough injuries during this game to make it seem like a vintage clash between the Steelers and the Oilers rather than the Texans. Pittsburgh loses Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring), James Harrison (eye) and Aaron Smith (foot sprain) to injuries during the game. The Texans lose All-Pro WR Andre Johnson to a hamstring injury, but Arian Foster rushes for 155 yds, scoring the go-ahead TD on a 42-yd cutback run. Missing two starters on the offensive line, Big Ben is punished all afternoon, suffering 5 sacks and taking a NASTY low hit to his legs by JJ Watt late in the game (drawing a roughing the passer penalty). Ben muscles through the pain to finish the game, but the Texans intercept his desperation pass with 10 seconds left to seal the win.
2011 Steelers 38 vs Titans 17
Ben Roethlisberger, limping slightly and wearing a steel-plated cleat to protect his sprained left foot, hits 24 of 34 for 228 yds and 5 TDs (including 2 to Hines Ward) as the Steelers utilize 3-step drops and short passes to limit hits on their ailing QB. Pittsburgh scores TDs on its first 3 possessions and outrushes Tennessee 174-66 behind reserve RBs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer (subbing for an injured Rashard Mendenhall). Titan RB Chris Johnson scoots for 21 yds on the first play of the game, but finishes with only 51 rushing yards on 14 carries. Until Roethlisberger hits Wallace for a 40-yd TD late in the 4th, Pittsburgh's longest completion comes on a 33-yd pass from punter Dan Sepulveda on a shocking fake punt in the 2nd quarter, setting up a short scoring pass to Ward to put the Steelers up 14-3. The Steelers win big despite playing without injured starters James Harrison, Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith.
2011 Steelers 17 vs Jaguars 13
Rashard Mendenhall rushes for 146 yds and a TD as the Steelers run up a 17-0 first half lead, only to sleepwalk through the the 2nd half and narrowly avoid a comeback by the hapless Jaguars. Roethlisberger throws for 200 yds and a TD on the day, but has more sacks (3) than completions (1) in the 2nd half as the Steelers muster only 70 more yds of offense. Pittsburgh's defense struggles as well. While Blaine Gabbert is sacked 5 times, Maurice Jones-Drew runs for a respectable 96 yds and the Jags dominate time of possession in the 2nd half. This was a game the Steelers should've won and they did, but it was another instance of "playing down to the competition" and eking out a win vs. an inferior team.
2011 Steelers 32 at Cardinals 20
Big Ben lives up to his name as the Steelers win their 3rd straight game. Roethlisberger hits 26 of 39 for 361 yds and 3 TDs, including the longest pass play in team history -- a 95-yd bomb to speedster Mike Wallace, who catches a perfectly thrown ball in stride at the Steeler 40 and outraces a pair of Arizona defenders to the end zone. For his part, Antonio Brown catches 7 balls and has the first 100-yd receiving game of his young career.
2011 Steelers 25 vs Patriots 17
Despite the absence of star LBs James Harrison and James Farrior, the Steelers play disciplined, stifling defense and hold the high-powered Patriots to just 213 total yds of offense. Brady completes 24 of 35, but for only 170 net passing yds as Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu and company blanket Wes Welker and Deion Branch and allow only one play longer than 20 yds. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger puts on a short passing clinic, dissecting the Pats for 365 yds on 36 of 50 passes as the Steelers pile up 427 yds of offense. The Patriots trail by two scores for much of the game, but Brady hits Hernandez for a TD with 2:39 left to pull within 6. Unable to stop the Steeler offense, Belichick opts for an onside kick despite having all 3 timeouts, but the kick doesn't travel 10 yds and the Steelers take over and milk the clock. New England gets one last chance from their own 22 with 19 seconds left, but Brett Keisel smacks the ball out of Brady's hands and a diving Troy Polamalu knocks the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
2011 Steelers 20 vs Ravens 23 SNF
The Steelers rally from a 10-point deficit and seem to be in the driver's seat after Ben Roethlisberger hits Mike Wallace for a 25-yd TD to take a 20-16 lead with less than 5 minutes left. Pittsburgh's defense then forces a 3 and out and the Steelers move in range for Shaun Suisham to attempt a 47-yard field goal that could have extended the Steelers' lead to 7. But a delay of game penalty pushes them back and the Steelers punt. The Ravens take over at their own 8 with 2:24 left, and Pittsburgh's #2-ranked defense suddenly disappears. The Ravens drive 92-yds after letting a sure TD bounce off his hands in the end zone, Tory Smith beats William Gay down the right sideline for a 26-yd redemption TD, giving Baltimore their fist sweep of the Steelers in 5 years.
2011 Steelers 24 at Bengals 17
What a difference a week makes for William Gay, the previous week's goat after giving up the game winning TD pass vs Baltimore. Despite jumping out an early 14-0 lead, the Steelers again find themselves in danger of allowing a late comeback. But with 2-1/2 minutes to play and the Bengals driving at the Steeler 26, Gay jumps a slant route and picks off rookie Andy Dalton to preserve the win for Pittsburgh. Earlier in the 4th quarter, Gay swatted a Dalton pass that is intercepted by Lawrence Timmons, surprisingly just the 3rd INT of the season for Pittsburgh.
2011 Steelers 13 at Chiefs 9 SNF
Despite a broken thumb on his throwing hand, Ben Roethlisberger connects with 10 different receivers and throws a first half TD as the Steelers take advantage of 4 turnovers by Chiefs QB Tyler Palko (3 INTs and a fumbled snap). Unfortunately, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu goes down after taking a knee to the head while making a tackle.
2011 Steelers 35 vs Bengals 7
With the division on the line, the Bengals wilt. While Andy Dalton passes for just 135 yds and is sacked 3 times by James Harrison, Ben Roethlisberger overcomes his nagging fractured right thumb to complete 15 of 23 for 176 yds and 2 TDs, both to Mike Wallace. Mendenhall gains only 60 yds but runs for 2 TDs early in the 2nd quarter to give Pittsburgh a 14-0 lead. Following Mendenhall's 2nd score, Cinci fumbles the kickoff and Ben immediately hits Wallace to make it 21-0. The Bengals cling to life briefly after a Dalton TD pass to A.J. Green TD, but Antonio Brown quickly dashes any hopes of a comeback with a dazzling 60-yd punt return just before the half to give Pittsburgh a 28-7 lead.
2011 Steelers 14 vs Browns 3 TNF
One of the truly remarkable performances of Ben Roethlisberger's career. Late in the 2nd quarter (51:41 mark), Ben suffers a gruesome, extremely painful ankle injury when he is "high/lowed" between two Cleveland defenders on a sack, twisting his ankle a full 110-degress off-axis, leaving him writhing on the field and sending him hobbling to the locker room for X-rays. Miraculously, Ben returns at the start of the 2nd half with his ankle heavily taped, and despite playing with a severe limp and struggling at times to even make basic handoffs, finishes 16 of 21 for 280 yds and 2 TDs, the second of which is a beautiful back-shoulder strike to Antonio Brown, who takes it 79 yds for a game-clinching score with 2:52 left. Roethlisberger's score comes moments after Colt McCoy, having driven his team to the Steeler 16 and threatening to take the lead, is intercepted in the end zone by William Gay. Cleveland hangs around in this game despite being outplayed thanks to a pair fumbles deep in Cleveland territory by Heath Miller and Hines Ward, a 4th down goal-line stand by the Browns and 12 Steelers penalities for nearly 100 yds. But in the end, it's simply too much Ben. To me, this is one of the greatest, gutsiest performances of Roethlisberger's career, epitomizing his toughness and will to win. Game also features a BRUTAL head shot from James Harrison on Browns QB Colt McCoy at the 1:56:15 mark (about 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter) that draws a flag and earns Harrison a 1-game suspension.
2011 Steelers 3 at 49ers 20 MNF
Ben Roethlisberger, playing on a badly sprained left ankle, throws for 330 yds. Unfortunately, he also throws 3 INTs, suffers 3 sacks and loses a fumble as he is mauled by San Francisco's #1-ranked defense. Ben gets a brief reprieve in the 2nd quarter when a power failure blacks out Candlestick Park for about 15 minutes. But the lights come back on and the beating resumes. The Steelers miss LB James Harrison who is serving a 1-game suspension for a helmet to helmet hit on Colt McCoy vs. Cleveland.
2011 Steelers 27 vs Rams 0
Charlie Batch plays a clean, efficient game in relief of an injured Ben Roethlisberger while Rashard Mendenhall scores a TD and racks up 116 yds on 18 carries vs. the NFL's worst rush defense. RB Steven Jackson is a bright spot for the Rams, rushing for 103 yds. But backup QB Kellen Clemens connects on just 9 of 24 passes for 91 yds in place of the injured Sam Bradford.
2011 Steelers 13 at Browns 9
Already bruised, battered and limping into the playoffs, the Steelers take another serious blow when Rashard Mendenhall goes down with a torn ACL on the last play of the 1st quarter. Isaac Redman comes off the bench to score a 3rd quarter TD following a brilliant sideline INT by Troy Polamalu. Redman nearly costs Pittsburgh the game with a pair of fumbles on consecutive drives in the 4th quarter, but Polamalu again saves the day, swatting down Seneca Wallace's Hail Mary in the back of the end zone on the game's final play. Hines Ward catches 5 passes to become the 8th player in NFL history with 1,000 career catches.
2011 Post Season
2011 AFC Wildcard Steelers 23 at Broncos 29 OT
Tim Tebow stuns the injury-depleted Steelers in overtime. After falling behind 20-6 at halftime, a limping Ben Roethlisberger rallies the Steelers with 17 points in the 2nd half, tying the game on a 31-yd TD strike to Jerricho Cotchery with 3:48 left. But on the first play of OT, Demaryius Thomas gathers in Tebow's play-action pass at the Denver 38, stiff-arms Ike Taylor and outraces safety Ryan Mundy (subbing for Ryan Clark) for an 80-yd TD to win a shocker.