Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 7 vs. Cardinals
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GAME BALL goes to: OLB LAMARR WOODLEY
Since Pro Bowl LB James Harrison has been out with a fractured orbital socket, Woodley has been hotter than the Arizona temperature. He had two sacks against the Cardinals, giving him 5 1/2 in the past three games. And that doesn't count the intentional grounding penalty he forced in the end zone, resulting in a safety that came one play after the Steelers padded the lead to 24-14. "I don't try to pay much attention to that if it doesn't come with a win," Woodley said. "At the end of the day, if I get sacks and we don't win, it doesn't matter to me."
X's AND O's
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 227 of his season-high 361 yards in the second half, but he spread the production among four different receivers -- Antonio Brown (7 catches, 102 yards), Mile Wallace (3-118, 1 TD), Emmanuel Sanders (5-46, 1 TD) and Heath Miller (4-59, 1 TD). Sanders had all five catches in the second half, including three on the drive that ended with his 4-yatrd TD. "That's what we've been looking for all season," said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. "Our young guys kept making plays, even there at the end."THE COUNTDOWN
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. RECORD PLAY: What was supposed to be a flat pass to TE David Johnson out of a run formation turned into the longest pass play in Steelers history when Roethlisberger connected with WR Mike Wallace on a 95-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead. Curiously, it was one of the few plays in which the Cardinals did not have rookie CB Patrick Peterson covering Wallace. "Mike was just running a go-route, but the play was designed for DJ," Arians said.
2. CLARK'S INTERCEPTION: The Steelers got only their second interception and third takeaway this season, but it was a big one -- a pick off a deflected ball by Ryan Clark on the first possession that set up a Steelers TD. "To start out on the road like that was big for us," Clark said.
3. GREAT COMEBACK: After the Cardinals cut the lead to 17-14 on a 73-yard catch-and-run by LaRod Stephens-Howling, Roethlisberger came back to complete six of eight passes for 80 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown to Sanders in which he stepped through pressure.
4. BAD MISS: Trailing 7-0, the Cardinals had a chance to tie the game when TE Rob Housler got behind S Troy Polamalu and was wide open for a 39-yard TD. But QB Kevin Kolb threw wide and long, forcing a punt that led to Wallace's record touchdown catch two plays later.
5. GREAT CATCH: Antonio Brown's career games for catches (7) and yards (102) included a dazzling one-handed catch along the sideline for 13 yards on third-and-5. The drive resulted in a 24-14 lead. "That was a great throw by Ben," Brown said. "I caught that with my eye."
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
11 That's the number of touchdown passes of 40 yards or longer from Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace, the second most among active duos in the NFL. The only combo with more is Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, who have 12.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
CB Ike Taylor was given the same assignment he had in Super Bowl XLIII -- follow Larry Fitzgerald -- and he did surrender a 31-yard catch to the Pro Bowl receiver in the first quarter. But he also committed a pair of third-down penalties on the same series to keep alive a Cardinals TD drive. Still, Fitzgerald finished with just four catches for 78 yards, with just two for 34 yards coming after the score was 32-14. "We wanted to make sure [Fitzgerald] didn't beat us and I thought Ike did a real good job," defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said.
"It seems like he's turned it on earlier this year. He usually seems to wait to mid-November to get going. With James Harrison out, it's great that he's stepped up and taken on that role to be a dominant player on the field."
-- James Farrior, on OLB LaMarr Woodley, who had two sacks and forced an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone that resulted in a safety
vs. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, 4:15 P.M. The Steelers return home to play the Patriots Sunday at Heinz Field. The Patriots have won seven of the past nine meetings, including four of the past five at Heinz Field.
First Published October 24, 2011 12:00 am