Season recap: The Steelers' road to 12-4
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Sept. 7 vs. Houston Texans
The host Steelers scored on their first three possessions and the defense had five sacks and two interceptions to win their season opener for the sixth consecutive season, the longest streak in the NFL. In his first regular-season game since he broke his leg in Week 15 last season, RB Willie Parker rushed for 138 yards and scored on runs of 7, 13 and 4 yards.
Sept. 14 at Cleveland Browns
On a wind-whipped day at Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Steelers beat their division rival for the 10th consecutive time. CB Bryant McFadden intercepted QB Derek Anderson's pass in the second quarter to set up the only touchdown, an 11-yard pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Hines Ward.
Sept. 21 at Philadelphia Eagles
In what was their most dreadful offensive performance of the season, the visiting Steelers managed just 180 yards, including only 33 rushing, and were held without a touchdown by an aggressive Eagles defense. QB Ben Roethlisberger was sacked a season-high eight times before he was injured and replaced by Byron Leftwich.
Sept. 29 vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Steelers rallied from a 13-3 deficit to hand the visiting Ravens their first loss of the season. K Jeff Reed kicked three field goals, including the winning 46-yarder in overtime, as the Steelers defense, led by OLB James Harrison's 2.5 sacks, held the Ravens to 97 yards offense after halftime.
Oct. 5 at Jacksonville Jaguars
QB Ben Roethlisberger, who had an interception returned 72 yards for a touchdown on the first series, threw three touchdowns and led the Steelers to an impressive comeback victory against the host Jaguars. Roethlisberger led the team on an 11-play, 80-yard drive to produce the winning touchdown with 1:53 remaining.
Oct. 19 at Cincinnati Bengals
The defense registered a season-high seven sacks and the Steelers broke loose for 21 fourth-quarter points to win their eighth consecutive game in Paul Brown Stadium. Mewelde Moore, playing for injured Willie Parker, rushed for 120 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns, one on a 2-yard pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Oct. 26 vs. New York Giants
A holding penalty against RT Willie Colon wiped out a touchdown pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Nate Washington, allowing the Giants to score 12 points in the final quarter and hand the Steelers their first home loss. OLB James Harrison, subbing for injured long snapper Greg Warren, snapped the ball for a safety.
Nov. 3 at Washington Redskins
QB Byron Leftwich replaced an injured QB Ben Roethlisberger in the second half and threw a 50-yard pass to WR Nate Washington on his first attempt to set up a touchdown, allowing the Steelers to post an easy victory at FedEx Field on "Monday Night Football." Leftwich finished 7 of 10 for 129 yards for a 145.8 passer rating.
Nov. 9 vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Steelers lost their second game in a row at Heinz Field when they failed to protect leads of 17-7 and 20-17 against the Colts, who won in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1968. QB Peyton Manning threw a 17-yard touchdown to RB Dominic Rhodes with 3:04 remaining for the winning score.
Nov. 16 vs. San Diego Chargers
In a bizarre game that featured the first 11-10 final score in NFL history, the Steelers came up with another late rally to beat the visiting Chargers on K Jeff Reed's 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining. The game also featured S Troy Polamalu's fumble return for a touchdown on the game's final play that was incorrectly overturned by the officials.
Nov. 20 vs. Cincinnati Bengals
On a Thursday night at Heinz Field, the Steelers scored 20 consecutive points after the winless Bengals had taken a 7-0 lead to improve to 8-3. QB Ben Roethlisberger was not sacked for only the second time and passed for 243 yards and a touchdown.
Nov. 27 at New England Patriots
The visiting Steelers forced turnovers on five consecutive possessions in the second half to score 23 points and win in New England for the first time since 1997. OLB James Harrison had two sacks and two forced fumbles against Patriots QB Matt Cassel, who was held to a 39.4 passer rating.
Dec. 7 vs. Dallas Cowboys
In one of the most dramatic endings in franchise history, the Steelers scored 17 points in the final seven minutes and capped the comeback with a 25-yard interception for a touchdown by CB Deshea Townsend with 1:40 remaining. The host Steelers were held to 238 yards, but QB Ben Roethlisberger passed for 141 yards in the second half.
Dec. 14 at Baltimore Ravens
The Steelers won their fifth game in a row in dramatic fashion again, scoring on a 4-yard touchdown pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds remaining to clinch the AFC North division title. Roethlisberger led a 12-play, 92-yard drive for the winning score against the league's No. 2 defense.
Dec. 21 at Tennessee Titans
Despite battling back from a 10-0 deficit to take a 14-10 lead, the Steelers gave up their most points of the season and had their five-game winning streak ended in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans finished with 323 yards offense, the first opposing team to have more than 300 yards against the Steelers this season.
Dec. 28 vs.Cleveland Browns
The defense put the finishing touches on a dominating season by holding the inept Browns to 126 yards offense and posting its first shutout since Week 11 last season. RB Willie Parker had 116 yards rushing, including a 34-yard TD run, but QB Ben Roethlisberger had to be carted off the field in the second quarter with a concussion.
First Published January 9, 2009 12:00 am