Super Bowl XLIII Steelers 27 vs Cardinals 23
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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!
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