Was it a perfect game? Far from it. The defense still gave up 36 points. But the offense put up 37. The Steelers were in another exciting game this week. At times you thought it was same old same old. Others, you felt it was going to be different this time. And it was. The Steelers finally won a close game this season. It’s a great feeling.
Full game recap after the jump.
Reed kicks it a little short to open the game, but the coverage is there. Packers set up at the 29. The Steeler defense gets some pressure early, and Aaron Rodgers throws three passes way too high for his receivers. Three-and-out. Good early statement.
The Steelers get the punt and the offense takes the field at their own 40 yard line. Ben sells a play action fake like it’s a Tickle Me Elmo, Mike Wallace sets Jarrett Bush on fire, Ben rolls out and shows Rodgers how it’s done. 7-0.
Wallace is so fast, Ben cannot throw the ball deep enough for him. Think Arians is hearing the criticism? Great call.
The Packers try the same play, but Donald Driver just isn’t as fast as I-like-Mike Wallace, 2nd & 10. Rodgers completes his next pass, but Lawrence Timmons makes him pay with a vicious hit that Troy Aikman is still complaining about. The next pass sails high again. LaMarr Woodley could bench press Rex Ryan and shows off when he drives two huge blockers back into Rodgers. 4th down. Punt.
Heath picks up 24 yards on first down. Holmes lets a pass bounce dangerously off his hands but it’s no cause for alarm. Then he gets blanketed on the next play but Ben throws it his way anyway. No dice. Ben takes it himself on 3rd down and headbutts Clay Matthews in the gut. Short of the first, enter Dan Sepulveda. A white man playing wide receiver fair catches at the 10.
The first run of the day yields nothing c/o Ryan Grant, but a play later, Rodgers find Greg Jennings down the middle. Tyrone Carter sucks, and I don’t care if Ryan Clark thinks I’m being unfair. 7-7.
If you want to know what holding looks like, watch James Harrison on that TD. Textbook. Not called.
On a third down, Hines Ward makes a Hines Ward play. He catches the pass over the middle, takes a vicious shot, holds on, and gets up smiling. Been too long since we’ve seen that out of Ward.
BJ Raji was covering Heath Miller after that. As in, the nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme, BJ Raji. On Heath Miller. Ben will take that every day. Pitch and catch, first down. Holmes draws a pass interference call after that. Mendenhall gets a whole lot of nothing, but Ward converts on third down. Money. Heath Miller is invaluable on the next screen pass as he buries some DB and Holmes gets to 1st & goal.
Rashard Mendenhall shows you why he was a first round pick. Runs up the middle, gets stonewalled, bounces away and runs over Charles Woodson on his way to the goal line. 14-7 Steelers. Nice drive by Ben, even if the running game couldn’t get going.
Jordy Nelson gets a solid return on the ensuing kickoff. Joe Buck points out that Reed has one touchback on the season. It’ll be nice to get a fresh leg in next year.
Packers go three-and-out. William Gay actually makes a play defending a pass. Aikman exclaims his disappointment that it wasn’t a pick-six. I’ll take a batted pass from Gay at this point.
Two linemen get their helmets stuck together like they’re on Monday Night Football. Hilarious.
Well, the Green Bay defense finally arrives at the stadium with a sack on Ben and a forced fumble. Packers recover. Clay Matthews did everything on that play. The Steelers challenge.
This is why the NFL sucks. Tomlin threw the red flag, I got up, got my phone, ordered a pizza, came back, sat down with my laptop, and the call still hadn’t been decided.
Half an hour later, the ref comes out and declares incomplete pass. Bad call, Ben = stunned. They even show a clip of him on the sideline during the call looking surprised and saying “Wow.” That’s telling.
Sepulveda punts. Rodgers has had enough of throwing passes too high so he throws one into the dirt near Ike Taylor. One play later, he finds Donald Driver open down the middle. As long as Tyrone Carter is on the field, he will be a weakness on the defense. 49 yard play. Gay and Taylor catch up for the tackle. Ryan Clark also got beat in there, but I don’t have any room to mention that because I’m just watching the game. I don’t understand.
So according to Axe commercials, 85% of girls think dandruff is a turnoff on guys. What about the other 15%? Are they that weird?
Mason Crosby misses a field goal after the offense stalls. Still 14-7.
Steelers run a flea flicker but Green Bay has some solid coverage on the back end. Dump off to Mendenhall, and he ends up in a collision with Ward and AJ Hawk. Ward gets up gimpy.
Miller gets a holding call, but Mendenhall gets the penalty yardage back. A play or so later, Moore drops a pass on third down. Punt.
Joe Burnett makes a stupid play and hits Jordy Nelson out of bounds to give up an extra 15 yards. Burnett isn’t impressing muchin his rookie year.
Ryan Clark goes for a big hit on Jermichael Finley who gets a first down anyway. How dare us mere spectators criticize this defense? Clark = not impressed.
There’s another free agent that may not rejoin us in 2010.
The Packers have a serious case of the drops. Kapinos comes out to punt. No punt has ever been closer to not being a touchback. The ball barely breaks the plane of the end zone on a bounce. Steelers get a lucky 20 yards right there.
Mendenhall gets a tough run out to the 30 for a first down. Ward drops a ball later. That’s not one of the times you give Ward a free pass. You have to catch that. The Steelers have trouble getting set and Ben calls timeout.
Clay Matthews is a beast. Sack. Punt. No one wants to tackle Jordy Nelson and he squeezes out about 8 extra yards.
Another Packer drops a pass. Rodgers is on target, just no one can haul it in. Farrior misses a tackle. Boy it’s getting rough to watch him. He’s getting too old for this. Jennings on a screen pass, and Willie Gay blows a tire. First down Packers.
Vince Lombardi would have an anyeurism at the amount of grabbing vs tackling going on with the Steelers.
Woodley almost picks off a pass on a deflection. If he hangs on, it’s him vs Aaron Rodgers on the way to the end zone. That’d be a nice play to watch.
However, A-Rod has other ideas and runs the ball into the end zone himself. 14-14. What an awful drive by the defense. I don’t care how hard Ryan Clark works every week. If your team doesn’t tackle when it gets to the ball carrier, you are failing as a defense. Work as hard as you want, but if you don’t get it done when it counts, no one will care.
Steelers get the ball at the 20 with three minutes left. Ben’s first pass gets batted down. His next one goes to Moore for garbage yards, and the next goes to Heath Miller for a full 27. What a player. Two minute warning.
Santonio Holmes makes a sweet catch and run for 33 yards and set up the Steelers at the 15. Brandon Chillar tackles Heath Miller twice before the pass gets to him. 1st & Goal.
Clay Matthews busts in for a sack. He’s embarassing Max Starks. Ben of Arians or someone makes a great decision and on the next play Ben slings the ball into Mewelde Moore right off the snap. Holmes with a block, Moore with the TD. 21-14 Steelers.
William Gay was blanketing Jordy Nelson, but gives up on him to chase the QB. Surprise, Nelson picks up 24 yards. Then it’s Burnett’s turn to miss a tackle on Nelson. With 4 seconds left in the half, Rodgers is forced to take a shot for the end zone from the 42. It hits Donald Driver square in the face. Halftime.
The Packers open up with a sack on Ben. Ben makes on one of his Ben Plays after that and Mendenhall makes a sweet catch down the sideline. That would be a nice play from a WR, but your starting RB? I’ll take it.
Green Bay challenges. Good time to do your taxes or have a baby or something.
The play stands as called. Logan gets a catch in there and Mendenhall gets planted in the backfield. Mike Wallace drops a pass after that. To be fair, the ball was in his hands when he got hit from behind by a freight train in the form of Atari Bigby. Ouch. Punt.
On 3rd & 5, another pass is dropped by the Packers. They could be up by 40 right now.
On the Steelers’ next drive, Mendenhall catches a screen pass on third down and makes a big gain out of it. Willie Parker makes an appearance with a couple of solid runs. Hines Ward hauls in a pass over the middle inside the 15.
A touchdown by Mendenhall gets called back on a penalty. Ben gets sacked after that. 3rd & 25. The Steelers settle for a field goal as Moore catches a screen pass. Reed’s kick sails through. 24-14.
On 2nd & 10 on the Packers’ next drive, at least 13 defenders break into the backfield and sack Aaron Rodgers. He hits Driver for a first on the next play though.
Jennings or somebody makes a catch and gets his world rocked by Ryan Clark. Harrison gets his hand on a pass and bats it away. Pittsburgh takes a timeout.
3rd & 5 at the 22 and LaMarr Woodley hands over a free five yards by jumping into the neutral zone. It’s just barely short, so 3rd & inches at the 17. A-Rod sneaks for the first.
Deshea Townsend makes his first appearance of the season breaking up a pass in the end zone. Tyrone Carter takes a penalty on the next play as Jermichael Finley scores a touchdown. 24-21. Crosby’s missed field goal = huge right now.
Logan makes a nice little return and on first down, Hines makes a nice catch for 29. Parker finds 4 yards on 2 plays, and Heath Miller bails out the offense with a 12 yard catch. AJ Hawk stood there and watched him.
A Parker run and two missed deep throws lead to a 34 yard field goal. 27-21.
The Heinz Field crowd shows up on a 2nd down and Rodgers takes a timeout amidst some deafening defensive chants. Coming out of that Willie Gay lets Finley get a first down. Then he lets Nelson haul in a 27 yard pass. Ryan Grant runs right past Tyrone Carter and into the end zone.
Fox lists the score at 46-27 Packers. I get that Fox favors the NFC but that’s a bit blatant. The actual score is 28-27 Green Bay at this point. Logan gets the kick back to the 31.
A holding penalty on the first play makes it 1st & 20. Ben has enough of that, makes like 9 people miss in the pocket, and hit Hines Ward way downfield for 54 yards. Two incompletions later, Ben takes off with the ball himself. Called back on a hold. Ben manages an elaborate dump-off to Mendenhall for 8 yards. Reed comes out for a 43 yard FG. It’s good. Steelers have the lead, 30-28.
Four minutes left. One score game. About to give the other team the ball. We’ve seen this before. Can the defense hold up this time?
Tomlin doesn’t think so. He calls for an onside kick. Ike Taylor gets it before it goes the 10 yards. The one time Ike actually holds onto a ball…
The Packer offense gets great field position out of it and starts working down the field. Finley picks up the first down. Hampton stops Grant in there.
And James Jones breaks away from the defense. Rodgers finds him for a touchdown. It’s like watching the same movie every week. They add on a two point conversion for good measure. 36-30. Joe Buck mentions for the ninth time that Mike McCarthy is from Pittsburgh.
The kickoff bounces past Logan to the 14. Ouch.
Miller makes a catch for a couple. Some defensive holding gives the Steelers a first down. Two minute warning.
Ben sometimes looks a little unaware. He feels pressure, starts scrambling, but takes sacks when the clock is his enemy. And sometimes, he has a week and a half in the pocket to throw, but he can’t find anyone to throw it to.
But on 4th & 7, he shows you why he’s our quarterback. Hits Holmes on a big catch and run. Jarrett Bush picks off a pass somewhere, called back because Brandon Chillar attacks Hines Ward.
Heath Miller picks up a first down and gets out of bounds. Huge. Some DB takes a holding penalty. Also huge. Heath Miller again, ahead of the sticks. Big time catch.
Time runs out on too many incompletions. 3 seconds left. One shot. Ben fires. The clock hits zero. Time stands still.
Reed at the extra point. Game.