The first thing you notice when CBS cuts to University of Phoenix Stadium is how much black and gold there is. I know the Cardinals are bad but holy crap, at least half the stadium was Steelers fans. Way to represent in the Southwest Steeler Nation!
The Cards pick up a first down and Dan Dierdorf, who is probably the only Cardinal in the Hall of Fame, starts slobbering over some 3rd string tight end. On the next play, Timmons comes unblocked and Kolb throws a bad pass that gets tipped by Potsie and falls into the arms of Ryan Clark.
Brown gets us into the red zone and two plays later Heath undresses Clark Haggans on a wheel route and Ben finds him wide open at the goal line.
So many Steelers fans in Arizona, the HEEEEEEATH cheers were audible.
The Cards do pretty much nothing to respond after the turnover.
Ben can't hook up with Wallace 3 times, but offsetting penalties give us another chance and Ben hits Brown to move the sticks again. We work our way across midfield and look to set up in 3rd and short but Kemoeatu commits one of his textbook awful after-the-whistle spearing penalties where he dives onto the pile. Brown gets the 15 back on a post, but can't get to the sticks.
Kolb throws up a prayer for Fitz with Ike in perfect coverage and Fitz somehow makes a leaping grab down the sideline.
What a catch by Fitz. Nothing Ike could do there. Fitz and Ike trade pass interference penalties.
LaMarr Woodley rips through the Cards line and plows over Kolb.
Isaac Redman goes to work and picks up a first down on a check-down pass. After two more carries, Ben tries to hit Wallace down the sideline but his arm gets held up and Wallace can't make the catch one-handed.
The Cards start moving the ball and Beanie Wells gets to the second level to move them into Steelers territory. Kolb takes a shot down the seam but badly overthrows an open tight end. On 3rd down, he tries to go deep again but doesn't even throw it in the same zip code as Fitz. Former Browns punter Dave Zastudil pins the Steelers inside the 10.
David Johnson commits a false start penalty to set us back to the 5. As a personal note, every time the Steelers have the ball back inside the 10, I think to myself, "You know, the longest pass play in Steelers history is 90 yards."
007 says NOT. ANY. MORE. On a play-action that was supposedly designed to go to DJ, 007 airs it out for Wallace who catches it in stride and burns past two defenders alllllll the way to the house.
95 yards, new Steelers record.
Take a seat, Bobby Shaw.
The Cards were moving the ball before and the short drive puts a tired Steelers defense back on the field. Arizona starts moving the ball again, with Fitz picking up a 3rd down on a quick slant that he breaks some tackles on to get across midfield. Two penalties on Ike give Arizona first downs into the red zone. Honestly, I'd rather Ike commit 5-yard penalties than let Fitz score. Beanie Wells got hurt somewhere in there (big surprise). Kolb hits Doucet to get them down to the goal line and two plays later some backup RB dives across the line.
The Steelers seemingly go 3-and-out with under a minute and a half to go, but a 3rd down penalty gives us new life. Ben hits Brown for 20 then goes to work on Patrick Peterson, drawing two penalties on the rookie to get us across midfield. Ben hits Hines for 9 to get close to the 20 then spikes the ball after wasting a good 16 seconds off the clock. On 3rd and 1, the Steelers try the Mewelde Moore sweep/draw that got stuffed for a safety against the Jets last year and the Cards do the same thing: stop Moore in the backfield. Suisham nails it to end the half.
The Steelers come out throwing again, with Brown moving the chains again, but then they go to the motif offense and the drive stalls out.
The Cards start moving the ball on the ground, but Woodley draws a holding penalty and comes up with the sack to force second and long.
Kolb checks one down to former Pitt RB LaRod Stephens-Howling and LRSH cuts back, taking advantage of Troy and Potsie running into each other and takes it all the way to the house to cut the lead to 3.
007 comes back ready to lead the troops down the field. On 3rd and 6 he throws a beautiful pass to Heath over the linebacker and Heath makes a leaping grab for a big first down.
Ben gets sacked but goes back to Heath for another first down. 007 starts getting Sanders involved hitting him for 5.
Brown makes a leaping one-handed grab for 13 then 007 goes back to Sanders for 20 to get down to the 2. Two plays later, Ben makes a vintage Ben play, deking a linebacker out of his shoes then finding Manny Sanders on a scramble drill in the back of the end zone.
Arizona commits some penalty on the kickoff so their next drive starts back inside the 10. For some unknown reason, they decide not to block LaMarr Woodley and he nails Kolb in the end zone.
Kolb somehow manages to get the ball away, but there's no receiver close. Grounding in the end zone? That's a safety.
I'll be back.
The Steelers come back with Mewelde Moore grinding out some solid gains behind an O-line that looked like they were out for blood getting a serious push up front.
With the ball near midfield, Ben hits Wallace on the sideline to get us inside the 35 then Heath to get down to the 25. Ben gets "sacked" on a shaky "in the grasp" call where a Cardinal had him by the ankles and he was still trying to make a pass. The "in the grasp" rule is there to protect QBs from getting piled on when they're clearly going to be sacked, but Ben was still capable of making a throw there. Oh well. They can't do anything else but Suisham adds more points.
Kevin Kolb sucks. 3-and-out.
The Steelers go ground-and-pound with Mendenhall and Redman grinding into field goal territory. Wallace makes a catch on 3rd down but can't quite get to the sticks. Suisham hits his third field goal of the day.
Kolb finally figures out that throwing the ball to Larry Fitzgerald is a good idea and hits him twice to get into Steelers territory. Doucet gets 9 on 3rd down to get them into the red zone and Kolb sneaks for a new set of downs. Kolb converts another 3rd down then hits Doucet on the same inside slant the Cards tried to run in the Super Bowl, but we didn't have James Harrison on the field this time, so it's a touchdown.
The Cards go for 2 and the Steelers bring heat, forcing Kolb to throw the ball away.
Rather than go for the onside kick, the Whiz opts to kick off and the Cards never see the ball again. Redman and Moore do work and grind down the clock. Ben hits Sanders on a 3rd and 4 to get a key first down then after the Cards use their last timeout, Ben goes back to Sanders on a crossing route on 2nd and 11 to get a big first down to ice the game.
Players of the Game:
Offensive Game Ball: Ben Roethlisberger
Defensive Game Ball: LaMarr Woodley
Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game
Look, I get that Dierdorf spent his career as an Arizona Cardinal. I understand that he was inducted into the hall of fame as a member of the franchise, so he has fond memories of his time there. But his verbal erection for the Cardinals was downright sickening. I can understand salivating over a guy like Larry Fitzgerald or Adrian Wilson who are All-Pro talents. However, when you're talking about 3rd string tight ends like they're the next Shannon Sharpe and can't say a decent thing about Heath Miller, you need to seriously re-evaluate your objectivity and ability to announce a football game.
- How much of a beast has LaMarr Woodley been? He has 5.5 sacks in the last 3 games plus the forced safety and is now leading the AFC in sacks with 7.
- The offensive line had a really good first half pass-blocking for Ben.
- Chris Kemoeatu needs to stop committing those back-breaking personal foul penalties. He's done it throughout his career.
- Ike Taylor is having a Pro Bowl caliber season. He's been facing #1 receivers all season and shutting them down. Great job on Fitz today.
- Antonio Brown had his first 100-yard game of his career. Great to see him stepping up.
- Hines twisted his ankle in the second half and didn't return. Hope he makes it back for the New England game.
- We really can't say enough good things about Mike Wallace. What a player.
- Huge game for the Young Money crew. Wallace sets the franchise record with a 95-yard touchdown and has 118 yards, Antonio Brown has his first 100-yard game and Manny Sanders adds 46 and a touchdown.
- The Ravens looked horrible against Jacksonville, which makes us feel a little better about how the Steelers played in the second half against the Jags. Also, we're back in first place in the division.
- Bring on the Patriots.