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A HUGE gold star thank you goes out to Barry Blyler for generously contributing the 2012 season for the rest of us to enjoy. Kudos, Barry!

 2012 Regular Season 

2012 Steelers 19 at Broncos 31 SNF
So much for revenge. Old man Manning looks sharp in his first game as a Bronco, orchestrating 3 straight 80-yd TD drives, including a 71-yd TD catch-and-run by none other than Demaryius Thomas, who ended Pittsburgh's Super Bowl hopes 8 months earlier on Tim Tebow's 80-yd pass in overtime. Nonetheless, the Steelers have the ball and are driving toward a game-winning TD in the final 2-1/2 minutes of the game when, in an ironic twist reminiscent of his pick-6 of Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLIV, former Saint Tracey Porter intercepts a Roethlisberger pass and returns it 43 yds for a game-clinching TD as Peyton Manning looks on knowingly.

2012 Steelers 27 vs Jets 10
Big Ben hits 24 of 31 for 275 yds and 2 TDs, spreading the ball around to 10 different receivers. The defense, after a somewhat shaky first half (in part due to the absence of Troy Polamalu and James Harrison), eventually wakes up and throttles the Jets, allowing only 91 yds in the second half. Pittsburgh owns a 36-to-23 minute edge in time of possession, with 10 minutes of it coming on a 14-play 75-yd TD drive that eats up most of the 4th quarter to salt the game away. Mark Sanchez throws an early TD to former Steeler Santonio Holmes, but finishes a dismal 10 of 27 for 138 yds.

2012 Steelers 31 at Raiders 34
A ridiculous loss and a huge upset. Surely, Ben Roethlisberger hitting 36 of 49 for 384 yds for 4 TDs, 0 INT and only 1 sack would be enough to vanquish a weak Oakland team. And surely, intercepting Carson Palmer's very first pass and carrying a 10-point lead into the 4th quarter would be enough. It isn't. With Troy Polamalu and James Harrison sitting out with injuries, the defense collapses late against against one of the league's worst offenses, allowing the suddenly unstoppable Raiders to score 13 unanswered points, including Sebastian Janikowski's 43-yd game-winner on the final play of the game.

2012 Steelers 16 vs Eagles 14
A game I attended with my kids. Rashard Mendenhall plays well in his first action since tearing his ACL in the 2011 regular season finale, gaining 101 total yards, averaging 5.8 yds a carry and scoring Pittsburgh's only TD on a Roethlisberger checkdown pass. The Steelers shut Philly out in the first half thanks to a Michael Vick fumble into the end zone on a QB draw (forced by Ryan Clark, recovered by Larry Foote). Pittsburgh leads 10-0 at halftime, and it would've been 14-0 had Jerricho Cotchery not tripped over his own feet just shy of the end zone. But the Eagles fight back and go ahead 14-13 on a short Michael Vick TD pass with 6:33 remaining in the game. Big Ben leads a methodical 15-play 6-1/2 minute final drive from the Pittsburgh 10 to the Philly 16, passing for a pair of critical 3rd down conversions along the way to set up Shaun Suisham's 34-yd game-winner as time expires.

2012 Steelers 23 at Titans 26 TNF
Roethlisberger's 363-yds passing are enough to make him the Steelers' all-time passing leader, but with a banged up O-line and zero running game, they are not enough to win the game. Ben hits Wallace for an 82-yd TD bomb late in the first, but a blocked punt on the next series leads to an easy Titans TD. The Steelers repeatedly fail to turn opportunities in TDs, instead settling for FGs, allowing the Titans to stay in the game and eventually tie it late in the 4th. With less than a minute to play, Shaun Suisham misses a 54-yd FG try and Hasselbeck takes advantage of the great field position, hitting a quick 25-yd pass to set up a 40-yd Bironas FG to win it.

2012 Steelers 24 at Bengals 17 SNF
The Steelers are missing their top two running backs (Mendenhall and Redman) as well as C Pouncey and RT Gilbert. It doesn't matter. Reserve Jonathan Dwyer runs wild in his first career start, piling up 122 yds on 17 carries (7.2 avg), including a 32-yd burst in the final minute to seal the game. The Steelers are also missing Troy Polamalu. It doesn't matter. Ike Taylor limits AJ Green to just 1 catch in 6 targets. The Steelers play a sloppy first half which includes multiple drops (including a ridiculously easy TD by Baron Batch of Antonio Brown's absolutely perfect throw on a trick play), a Big Ben end zone INT followed by a Roethlisberger fumble DEEP in Steeler territory, allowing the Bengals to jump out to a 14-3 lead. It doesn't matter. Late in the half, an Andy Dalton pass slips out of his hand, bounces off a lineman's helmet and is picked off by LaMarr Woodley in Cinci territory, setting up a Roethlisberger TD pass and 2-point conversion (both to Heath Miller) to tie the game at halftime. The teams trade FGs in the 3rd, and following a 31-yd strike over the middle to Emmanuel Sanders, reserve RB Chris Rainey slices through the middle untouched for an 11-yd TD early in the 4th and the Bengals never threaten again.

2012 Steelers 27 vs Redskins 12
The Steelers, donning their 1934 "bumblebee" throwbacks for the very first time, swarm QB Robert Griffin III like angry hornets, allowing the rookie phenom to gain just 8 yds rushing in 6 tries. Griffin is solid early, leading the Redskins on an impressive early TD drive, but RGIII ends up completing less than 50% of his passes, thanks in part to a slew of terrible drops by Washington receivers. In contrast, Big Ben is efficient and razor sharp throughout the rainy afternoon (24 of 33 for 222 yds, 3 TDs), leading the Steelers to scores on their first 4 possessions. Pittsburgh dominates time of possession and runs the ball at will, especially in the first half, with backup Jonathan Dwyer blasting his way to 107 yds on 17 carries.

2012 Steelers 24 at Giants 20
Despite trailing by 10 as the 4th quarter begins, this is a deceptively dominant win over the defending champs. Pittsburgh turns an early Eli Manning INT into a TD, but terrible officiating soon puts the Steelers in a hole. New York's first score is set up by a ridiculous 41-yd pass interference call, followed by a terrible 3rd down unnecessary roughness call. On Pittsburgh's ensuing drive an UNFORGIVABLE ruling on what is CLEARLY an incomplete pass is somehow declared a fumble (and inexplicably not overturned by replay) that New York returns 70 yds for a TD, despite Heath Miller being blatantly clipped on the same play. In the end, it doesn't matter. The game turns on the 2nd play of the 4th quarter when Ben hits Mike Wallace on a quick slant and Wallace blazes 51 yds for a score. After an outstanding 63-yd punt return by Sanders sets the Steelers up at the Giant 12, a ill-advised fake FG attempt on 4th and 1 results in no points. But the Giants go 3 and out and the Steelers use reserve RB Isaac Redman (26 carries, 147 yds) to grind out the bulk of a 51-yd drive to seal the game on a short TD run.

2012 Steelers 16 vs Chiefs 13 MNF OT
The Chiefs storm out to a stunning 10-0 lead in this rain-soaked, mistake-filled Monday Night matchup, but Pittsburgh ties the game by halftime on a fantastic Mike Wallace catch in the end zone. On Pittsburgh's opening 3rd-quarter possession, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali sandwich Roethlisberger, driving him into the ground on his throwing arm and ending his night. Byron Leftwich leads Pittsburgh to a 4th quarter FG, but Matt Cassel connects with Dwayne Bowe on a 4th-and-15 in the final seconds of regulation to send the game to OT on a Succup FG. But Cassel's first throw in overtime is picked off by Lawrence Timmons, who returns it to the KC 5 yd line, and Shaun Suisham immediately kicks the chip shot to win it.

2012 Steelers 10 vs Ravens 13 SNF
With Big Ben sidelined, the Ravens batter Byron Leftwich to take a 2-game lead in the AFC North. Despite a fast start in which the usually immobile Leftwich scrambles for a surprising 31-yd rushing TD on Pittsburgh's first drive, Leftwich spends much of the night peeling himself off the turf, suffering 3 sacks, 1 INT and a painful rib injury. Pittsburgh's second drive ends in a Mike Wallace fumble which Ed Reed returns to the Steeler 14 to set up a short Baltimore FG. Late in the first half, speedy Drew Butler goes untouched on a 63-yd punt return to give Baltimore a 10-7 lead. The teams trade FGs in the 3rd, and Pittsburgh's 4th quarter possessions end in sacks.

2012 Steelers 14 at Browns 20
Despite a solid defensive performance highlighted by Lawrence Timmons' 53-yd pick-6 on Cleveland's 3rd play of the game, this is an UGLY display by the Steeler offense filled with the turnovers, penalties and blown opportunities. Third-string QB Charlie Batch, forced into action by injuries to Big Ben and Byron Leftwich, is obviously rusty and struggles all afternoon, throwing 3 costly INTs. Adding insult to injury, Steeler runners fumble 8 times (losing 5), gaining just 49 yds on 20 carries as Pittsburgh is called for multiple drive-killing holding penalties and covert just 1 of 9 third downs.

2012 Steelers 23 at Ravens 20
Veteran backup Charlie Batch has an outstanding night (25 of 36, 276 yds, 1 TD), earning a hard-fought road win to keep Pittsburgh's slim playoff hopes alive. With the Ravens leading 20-13 in the 4th quarter, Ed Reed's INT in the end zone seems to seal Pittsburgh's fate. But just 3 plays later, James Harrison beats Michael Oher around the edge and chops the ball out of Flacco's hand, giving the Steelers possession and a short field. Batch quickly cashes in with a TD pass to Heath Miller to tie the game, and after a quick Ravens punt, Batch engineers a clutch 6-minute, 61-yd drive to set up Shaun Suisham's game-winning 42-yd FG as time expires.

2012 Steelers 24 vs Browns 10
Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense forces 4 sacks and 4 turnovers (3 fumbles and an INT thrown right to Troy Polamalu), while Ben Roethlisberger throws 3 TDs (including the final TD of Plaxico Burress' career) as the Steelers do just enough offensively to beat the Browns and avoid a losing season at 8-8. Despite being a so-called "meaningless" game, the contest is hard-hitting and chippy with lots of pushing and shoving after the whistle.


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