Ben Roethlisberger set a franchise record Sunday throwing 503 yards against the Green Bay Packers. It took a final drive right out of last year’s Super Bowl to give Pittsburgh the 37-36 victory.
It was amazing.
The Steelers tried every which way to get back to winning football games before they went back to an old favorite, the drive that delivered them a victory in Super Bowl XLIII.
With their coach admitting in so many words and deeds he had lost all faith in his defense to stop the Green Bay Packers, the offense drove 86 yards on 12 plays and squeezed every last second of the clock to do so to deliver a 37-36 victory at Heinz Field.
This time it was not Santonio Holmes toe-tapping in the right side of the end zone for the winner, but rookie Mike Wallace catching a 19-yard pass with both toes barely in bounds with no time left. That tied the score, Jeff Reed’s kick won it and, while it did not deliver another Lombardi Trophy, it put a five-game losing streak out of their misery.
“We’re not dead yet,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin declared. “We have a little pulse here.”
Indeed, the Steelers cling precariously to contention for a wild-card playoff berth with a 7-7 record, but the reality of their chances can hold for another day. That they put their finger in the dike that was near dissolution was reason alone for them to celebrate last night.
“I think we went through a whole range of emotions [last night],” linebacker James Farrior said.
The fourth quarter alone featured four touchdowns and two field goals in the kind of fastbreak game rarely seen in Heinz Field. In fact, a lot that occurred yesterday rarely had been seen at all in Pittsburgh.
Roethlisberger’s 503 yards passing set a franchise record and he became the third quarterback in NFL history to top 500 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Hines Ward had 126 yards and Heath Miller 118, both on seven catches.
It had been weeks since I felt the urge to pick up a Terrible Towel, but last night I clutched it like a security blanket during the Steelers’ last drive. The final touchdown pass, with no time left on the clock, was a piece of art.