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Steelers Game Recaps

Game 1

Steelers 38, Texans 17

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Willie Parker ran for 138 yards and three touchdowns and a near-perfect Ben Roethlisberger threw two scoring passes to Hines Ward in a Steelers rout that began with Houston's fourth-down failure on its opening possession.

The Steelers retain most of the top players from the team that won the Super Bowl three seasons ago, and many played a role in Pittsburgh's sixth consecutive season-opening win. The streak is the NFL's longest since Miami won 11 in a row from 1992-2002.

Parker showed no loss of speed or cutback ability from the broken right leg that ended his 2007 season in the Steelers' next-to-last game, when he was leading the NFL in rushing. Roethlisberger missed on only one of 14 passing attempts until being lifted after three quarters.

Game 2

Steelers 10, Browns 6

CLEVELAND (AP) - Ignoring his sore right shoulder and wind gusts of 60 mph, Ben Roethlisberger threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward as the Steelers made it 10 straight wins over their closest rival, beating the Browns to extend the NFL's longest current winning streak between two teams.

As is their way, the Steelers wrecked Cleveland's return to prime time after a five-year hiatus. Pittsburgh has won eight in a row in Cleveland (0-2), 16 of 17 in the series and 23 of 26.

During the game, it was disclosed on TV that Roethlisberger sustained a separated shoulder last week in a win over Houston. But Big Ben didn't seem bothered as he completed 12 of 19 for 186 yards and improved to 10-0 in NFL games inside his home state.

Game 3

Eagles 15, Steelers 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Brian Westbrook limped off the field in the first half. Donovan McNabb missed part of the third quarter. With their best player sidelined and star quarterback hurting, the Eagles did it with defense.

A swarming D had nine sacks, forced a safety and got three turnovers against the Steelers (2-1). Ben Roethlisberger had no time to throw and Willie Parker couldn't find any room to run. Juqua Parker had 2 1/2 sacks as the Eagles banged around Big Ben, eventually knocking him out of the game.

Game 4

Steelers 23, Ravens 20, OT

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Jeff Reed's 46-yard field goal in overtime gave the Pittsburgh a 23-20 win over Baltimore, as the Steelers overcame a 10-point deficit, numerous injuries and a late Ravens comeback.

Reed's third field goal ended a back-and-forth game in which the Steelers were down by 10 late in the third quarter, rallied but couldn't hold a seven-point lead, then found a way to win despite being without their top three running backs.

Pittsburgh came back to win despite losing two players to season-ending injuries, running back and first-round draft pick Rashard Mendenhall (fractured shoulder) and right guard Kendall Simmons (right Achilles tendon).

The Ravens, losing for the seventh time in their past eight games in Pittsburgh, won the important overtime coin toss but were backed up by two penalties and a sack and had to punt out of the end zone.

Then, on third-and-8, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found fourth-string running back Mewelde Moore - playing only because of the injuries - on a 24-yard pass for a first down at the Ravens' 31-yard line. On third-and-14, Moore made a 7-yard catch to move the ball to the 28, bringing kicker Reed closer to goal.

Game 5

Steelers 26, Jaguars 21

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Big Ben's big night gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a big boost in the AFC North.

Ben Roethlisberger threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns, helping the Steelers (4-1) overcome their offensive woes and snap a four-game losing streak against Jacksonville.

Roethlisberger finished 26-of-41, rebounding from an interception on his third pass that Rashean Mathis returned 72 yards for a score. Roethlisberger's perfect 8-yard fade pass to Hines Ward in the corner of the end zone put the Steelers ahead 26-21 with 1:53 remaining.

Roethlisberger misfired on the 2-point conversion, but Pittsburgh's defense sealed the win by sacking David Garrard and then forcing two incomplete passes.

Game 6

Steelers 38, Bengals 10

CINCINNATI (AP) - Mewelde Moore scored a career-high three touchdowns, and Pittsburgh piled up seven sacks in a 38-10 victory that solidified the Steelers' hold on first place in the AFC North and left the Cincinnati Bengals wallowing without a win at the bottom of the league.

The Steelers (5-1) asked a lot of him in an offense known for running the ball no matter who's in the backfield. Moore ran for a pair of touchdowns and caught a pass for another.

Roethlisberger improved to 11-0 in his native state - he's never lost in Cleveland or Cincinnati. With his separated passing shoulder much better after a bye week, Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes, including a 50-yarder to Nate Washington that started the fourth-quarter scoring spurt.

Game 7

Giants 21, Steelers 14

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The New York Giants did little with the exceptional field position the Steelers gave them. Finally, when it seemed Pittsburgh had too much depth and defense for the Super Bowl champs, the Steelers were tripped up by - of all things - a bad punt snap.

Eli Manning threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss with 3:11 remaining for the Giants' only touchdown after they tied it several minutes before on a bizarre safety. Linebacker James Harrison's high snap on the punt gave New York two points, and the Giants held off Pittsburgh for a 21-14 victory in a matchup of division leaders.

The resilient Steelers (5-2) playing with backups all over the field, tried to make up for Ben Roethlisberger's four interceptions by turning two big-play scores into a lead they preserved with a goal-line stand midway through the fourth quarter.

But the Giants (6-1) tied it with 6:48 remaining on the safety.

Pro Bowl linebacker Harrison, playing center due to long snapper Greg Warren's knee injury, snapped the ball over punter Mitch Berger's head and out of the end zone. It wasn't certain why Harrison was snapping rather than starting center Justin Hartwig or right guard Darnell Stapleton, a center at Rutgers.

John Carney kicked four field goals for New York.

Game 8

Steelers 23, Redskins 6

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) - Byron Leftwich came on at halftime and led two touchdown drives in the Steelers' 23-6 victory over Washington.

Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reinjured his throwing shoulder on a 1-yard sneak that gave the Steelers a 10-6 lead in the final minute of the first half.

Roethlisberger was 5-of-17 for 50 yards and an interception, while Leftwich went 7-of-10 for 129 yards and a touchdown as Pittsburgh (6-2) beat an NFC East team for the first time in three attempts this season.

The Steelers' top-rated defense had seven sacks and became the first team this season to intercept Jason Campbell. It also held Clinton Portis to 51 yards rushing, ending his streak of five straight games with at least 120 yards.

Pittsburgh won its 15th consecutive Monday night home game, a streak that dates to a 1991 loss to the New York Giants at Three Rivers Stadium.

Game 9

Colts 24, Steelers 20

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Peyton Manning took advantage of Ben Roethlisberger's fourth quarter interception to find Dominic Rhodes out of the backfield on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 3:04 remaining for Indianapolis' only lead, and the Colts rallied in a virtual must-win game to beat the Steelers 24-20.

Manning also hit Reggie Wayne on a 65-yard touchdown pass play on a tipped ball that wasn't well thrown and Dallas Clark on a 2-yard scoring pass six seconds before halftime following an unnecessary interception by Roethlisberger, helping end the Colts' 40-year losing streak in Pittsburgh.

The Colts (5-4) had dropped their last 12 in Pittsburgh counting the postseason, dating to a 41-7 win in 1968 when the Steelers played at now-demolished Pitt Stadium.

The Steelers (6-3) had a chance to win at the end, but Roethlisberger's pass into the end zone on the final play - with Nate Washington open briefly - was intercepted by Melvin Bullitt.

Game 10

Steelers 11, Chargers 10

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The only thing perfect on a snowy, frigid day when the weather and the offenses were equally awful was San Diego's regular-season record in Pittsburgh.

Make it 0-13, losing the first 11-10 final in NFL history.

Ben Roethlisberger stayed away from the mistakes that cost the Steelers their previous two home games, Willie Parker ran for 115 yards and Jeff Reed's third field goal won it - a 32-yarder with 11 seconds remaining.

The unusual final scored was in jeopardy when Troy Polamalu returned an errant lateral 12 yards for an apparent touchdown on the final play. But it was overturned on replay - called an illegal forward pass - and the 11-10 score was restored.

The Steelers outgained the Chargers 410-216, and most teams with a 300-yard passer and a 115-yard rusher normally have plenty of offense. But the Steelers couldn't get into the end zone even as Roethlisberger went 31-of-41 for 308 yards, partly because they had 13 penalties for 115 yards to San Diego's two for 5 yards.

A snow squall about 45 minutes before the late-afternoon kickoff left Heinz's grass surface snowy white at the start and snow splotches remained the rest of the game.

Game 11

Steelers 27, Bengals 10

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Steelers honored defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau with a pregame ceremony for his 50 years as an NFL coach and player. His league-best defense found the best possible way to pay tribute to him.

The Steelers limited the depleted Bengals to six first downs following an early touchdown drive and found just enough offense themselves amid the snow flurries to control the clock behind Ben Roethlisberger and beat Cincinnati 27-10.

Pittsburgh (8-3) wasn't dominating - except defensively - in winning its fifth in a row over Cincinnat, its longest streak since an eight-game run in the early 1990s. The Steelers trailed 7-0 until Roethlisberger threw a 3-yard pass to tight end Heath Miller, their first touchdown in more than seven quarters, and didn't take control until backup running backs Mewelde Moore and Gary Russell led a third-quarter drive that made it 20-7.

Game 12

Steelers 33, Patriots 10

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Pittsburgh's NFL-best defense stopped Matt Cassel's two-game offensive surge and pushed New England closer to strange territory: a sideline seat for the playoffs.

The Steelers (9-3) held the Patriots to 267 yards, got two touchdown passes from Ben Roethlisberger and four field goals from Jeff Reed and beat the Patriots 33-10.

Cassel lost two fumbles and two interceptions in the second half and was sacked five times after throwing for at least 400 yards in his past two contests. He was 19-for-39 for 169 yards and no touchdowns against Pittsburgh, which has held all 12 opponents under 300 yards.

In the second half, the Steelers outscored the Patriots 23-0 and gave up just 81 yards.

Game 13

Steelers 20, Cowboys 13

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Deshea Townsend scored on a 25-yard interception return with 1:40 remaining as the Steelers scored their only two touchdowns 24 seconds apart to rally from a 10-point deficit.

Pittsburgh was stopped on fourth down at the Dallas 1 early in the fourth quarter while falling behind 13-3, but came back to tie it at 13 on Ben Roethlisberger's 6-yard pass to Heath Miller with 2:04 left. Roethlisberger found Nate Washington three times for 51 yards on a 67-yard drive after the Cowboys twice stalled.

On second-and-8 from the Cowboys 17, Jason Witten ran the wrong pass route, allowing Townsend to step in front of the pass for the fifth turnover forced by Pittsburgh's league-leading defense. Until the closing minutes, that defense had been outplayed by a determined Dallas defense that held Pittsburgh to 70 yards rushing and 238 yards.

Game 14

Steelers 13, Ravens 9

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers used a second straight fourth-quarter comeback to earn another AFC North title.

Santonio Holmes caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger with 43 seconds left, and the Steelers clinched their second consecutive division crown by beating the Baltimore Ravens 13-9.

The Steelers (11-3) trailed 9-6 before moving 92 yards in 13 plays to take their only lead and score the game's lone touchdown. Roethlisberger went 7-for-11 for 89 yards on the drive.

The Steelers have won five straight, and this was their first win in Baltimore since 2002. It also earned the Steelers a first-round bye.

The Steelers began their final drive at their 8 with 3:36 left. Two straight completions to Hines Ward moved the ball to the 34, and a third-and-10 completion to Nate Washington for 16 yards took Pittsburgh to midfield.

Washington caught a 24-yarder to the 14, and a 10-yard pass to Ward set up first-and-goal at the 4. After two incompletions, Roethlisberger scrambled left, then found Holmes over the middle for the winner.

Game 15

Titans 31, Steelers 14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Kerry Collins threw for a touchdown, Chris Johnson and LenDale White ran for a score apiece, and the Titans routed the Steelers in a showdown of the AFC's best teams. Tennessee clinched the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Titans improved the NFL's best record to 13-2 with their 15th win in 17 games. But they were coming off a loss to Houston in which they failed to score a touchdown for the first time this year and were up against the NFL's stingiest defense.

They snapped back well, ending the Steelers' five-game winning streak and becoming the first team to top 300 yards against Pittsburgh (11-4) this season. They finished with 323 yards.

Game 16

Steelers 31, Browns 0

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Ben Roethlisberger gave the playoff-bound Steelers a major scare by sustaining a concussion during an essentially meaningless victory over the embarrassed Cleveland Browns.

Roethlisberger, expected to play a half to stay sharp before a two-week break, lay on the turf for nearly 15 minutes after being leveled by Willie McGinest and D'Qwell Jackson while delivering a pass late in the second quarter.

Despite the long delay, Roethlisberger's teammates did not react as if he had been seriously hurt and the quarterback flashed a thumbs-up while being driven off the field.

The Browns didn't score a touchdown on offense while losing their final six, setting an NFL record by going 24 consecutive quarters without an offensive touchdown. The 1974 Bears' streak lasted 22 quarters.

Divisional Playoffs

Steelers 35, Chargers 24

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Steelers, owners of the NFL's best home-field record since the 1970 NFL merger, shook off a 7-0 deficit barely two minutes into the game, controlled pint-sized playmaker Darren Sproles and returned some normalcy to the postseason by beating the San Diego Chargers 35-24.

With a now-healthy Willie Parker running for 146 yards and two touchdowns, Ben Roethlisberger ignoring his late-season concussion to throw for a score and lead an efficient offense, the Steelers did what the favored Titans, Panthers and Giants couldn't do by winning at home. It was the first time since 1971 that three road teams won during a single playoff weekend, and the Steelers made certain that road teams didn't go 4-for-4.

The Steelers had the worst offense of any playoff team coming in, only to put up 35 points to support the NFL's top-ranked defense.

Sproles, subbing for 1,100-yard rusher LaDainian Tomlinson, wasn't much of a factor despite a 63-yard kickoff return and a 62-yard TD catch in the game's final two minutes after Pittsburgh had opened a 35-17 lead.

Sproles was held to 15 yards on 11 carries after rushing for 105 the week before and. He had 91 yards on five catches and 164 yards on five kickoff returns.

The Steelers are headed to their seventh AFC title game, and sixth in Pittsburgh, in 15 seasons. They were 2-4 in the previous six, with an unprecedented four losses in five tries at home during the 1994-2004 seasons.

AFC Championship

Steelers 23, Ravens 14

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Tough and mean, like the original Steel Curtain.

These Steelers delivered too many hard hits and Troy Polamalu ended any chance Baltimore had for a comeback with a 40-yard interception return, Pittsburgh bullied their rivals 23-14 to reach their seventh Super Bowl.

The Steelers harassed Joe Flacco all game long as he tried to become the first rookie quarterback to take a team to the Super Bowl. Normally unflappable, he looked lost at times and finished 13-for-30 for 141 yards and three costly interceptions.

Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, picked off four times by New England in his rookie-year AFC title game, was a workmanlike 16-of-33 for 255 yards and, most importantly, no interceptions.

After beating Baltimore for the third time, the Steelers set up an intriguing matchup - Mike Tomlin vs. the Cardinals' Ken Whisenhunt, the offensive coordinator when the Steelers won the Super Bowl three seasons ago who went to Arizona after being passed over for Pittsburgh's job.

Whisenhunt and his top assistant, Russ Grimm, left after the Steelers unexpectedly hired Mike Tomlin, who has done something even Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher couldn't do by taking Pittsburgh to the Super Bowl in his second season.

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