Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 14 vs. Green Bay Packers
December 21, 2009 5:00 AM
Peter Diana / Post-Gazette
By Gerry Dulac Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Game ball goes to: Ben Roethlisberger
He became only the third quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 500 yards and three touchdowns in a game without an interception, joining Warren Moon and Y.A. Tittle. And he did it by staging a Super-Bowl-like drive in the final 2:01, driving 86 yards in 11 plays for the winning score with no time remaining. Roethlisberger had 10 pass plays of 20 yards or longer, but two of the biggest came on the final drive -- a 32-yard to Santonio Holmes on fourth-and-7 and a 20-yarder to Heath Miller on third-and-15.
A quick look at the top performances from yesterday's game:
1. SANTONIO HOLMES TO THE RESCUE: In a game of big plays, there might not have been any bigger than Holmes' 32-yard catch-and-run on fourth-and-7 with 1:14 remaining -- the play that kept alive the winning 86-yard touchdown drive. Holmes ran a crossing route and found a soft spot in the zone in front of LB Nick Barnett, moving the ball to the Packers' 46. Holmes finished with three catches for 77 yards.
2. BIG-PLAY HEATH: Miller had three of the 10 pass plays of 20 yards or longer to finish with a career-high 118 receiving yards. But his 20-yard sideline catch on third-and-15 with 32 seconds remaining set up the winning touchdown.
3. ANOTHER BLOWN LEAD? Or so it appeared when Packers WR James Jones caught a 24-yard touchdown in front of fallen CB Joe Burnett with 2:06 remaining, allowing the Packers to take a 36-30 lead after trailing 24-14 in the fourth quarter.
4. BIG BEN ESCAPES: Roethlisberger was sacked five times, but, on second-and-18 from the 23, he escaped pressure to find Hines Ward for a 54-yard pass to the Packers' 23, setting up the last of three Jeff Reed's field goals to make it 30-28.
5. NOT IN TY-ME: After missing a tackle on an 83-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, S Tyrone Carter took a bad angle and missed another tackle on Ryan Grant's 24-yard touchdown run that gave the Packers their first lead, 28-27, with 7:49 remaining.
Inside the numbers: 22
That's the points the Steelers allowed in the fourth quarter against the Packers, the third time this season they have allowed 21 or more in that period. Surprisingly, the Steelers have won two of those three games.
What was he thinking?
Packers KR Jordy Nelson didn't have a return longer than 46 yards this season, but the Steelers treated him as if he were Joshua Cribbs. It was bad enough when coach Mike Tomlin had Jeff Reed pooch-kick to the 38-yard line after the Steelers took a 27-21 lead, giving the Packers a short field. But an onside kick when leading, 30-28, with 3:58 left? "We had 30 minutes of evidence we could drive the ball on them," Tomlin said. "We also had 30 minutes of evidence to show they could drive the ball on us."
"I knew No. 7 was hot. He was unbelievable. The throw to Heath on the corner route, what a throw that was. That was vintage Ben all the way -- trusting his guy and putting it where he can catch it." -- Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians
X's and O's
On the winning 19-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace with no time remaining, Roethlisberger went right across the field with his progressions before he found the right guy. The pass play was designed for Santonio Holmes in the right corner, but, when he was covered, Roethlisberger went from right to left, looking for Heath Miller, then Hines Ward, before throwing to Wallace in front of S Nick Collins. "A great throw and a great catch," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said.
Up next: vs. BALTIMORE RAVENS 1 P.M. SUNDAY
The Ravens (8-6) won the first meeting Nov. 29 in Baltimore, 20-17, in overtime. The Ravens have lost their past three meetings at Heinz Field.