Archive for February 2nd, 2009

WATERCOOLER CHAT: STEELERS WIN IN LAST TWO MINUTES IN A GAME FOR THE AGES

Well, Super Bowl XLIII is officially in the books:

The game got off to a rapid start with an explosive, don’t-mess-with-us drive from the Pittsburgh Steelers.  They marched down the field, and plunged into the end zone with almost no resistance from Arizona.  However, their first touchdown was called back after a replay showed that Ben Roethlisberger’s knee was down before the goal line.  So… the Steelers had to settle for a field goal.  3-0 Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals couldn’t do anything offensively, and the Steelers tacked on another touchdown with a 1-yard run by fullback Gary Russell.  10-0 Steelers.  It looked like this was going to be a defensive display all game, as Arizona’s offense just couldn’t get it going.  But then, in the second quarter, the Cardinals had a beautiful drive down the field, marked by a 45-yard pass from Kurt Warner to Anquan Boldin.  This set up a short, play-action 1-yard touchdown pass to TE Ben Patrick.  This was also Ben Patrick’s first touchdown catch of the season.  10-7.

The second quarter appeared to be going the Cardinals way.  And in the closing few minutes, the Cards marched the ball easily down the field.  It appeared that they would score again before the half as they were inside the Pittsburgh 10-yard line.  But… Warner was picked off by the Steelers James Harrison, who ran it back for a record-setting 100-yard touchdown.  Harrison got some clutch blocks on the play, and as it played out the announcers thought there was a penalty so they didn’t get excited as they normally would.  In the end, no penalty — touchdown Steelers, and it was 17-7 heading into the Bruce Springsteen halftime show.

In the third quarter, it was theoretically comeback time for the Cardinals, but their offense couldn’t get anything going again.  However, their defense stepped up.  The Steelers had several red-zone opportunities for touchdowns, but the Cardinals came up strong, and held the Steelers to just a field goal in the 3rd quarter.

So, heading into the fourth, Arizona needed some offense… and FAST.  Well, that’s exactly what they made happen.  Kurt Warner led them down the field with a beautiful 28-yard pass to 3rd string running back J.J. Arrington.  He capped off the drive with a gorgeous lob pass to the immortal Larry Fitzgerald, who somewhat caught the pass against his helmet similar to the now famous “Helmet Catch” made by the Giants David Tyree in last year’s Super Bowl.  20-14 Cardinals.

Later in the quarter, the Cards pinned the Steelers on their one-yard line on 3rd down.  If the Steelers picked up a first, it would almost seal their victory.  And Ben Roethlisberger scrambled to throw an amazing pass to Santonio Holmes.  But — the play was called back for a holding call — AND, it was in the end zone, so it was ruled as a SAFETY.  Arizona got two points, and the ball back.  20-16.

And boy did they make the most of it, as Kurt Warner connected on a short slant pass to Larry Fitzgerald, who then ran it 64 yards down the field for a touchdown.  He even watched himself run it in on the jumbotron.  And, miraculously, the Arizona Cardinals were ahead in the Super Bowl with just 2:58 to play.  Who would have imagined that scenario back in September.

So — the Steelers had one last chance to win the game.  And, unfortunately for Cardinals fans, Ben Roethlisberger was ‘Joe Montana’ brilliant on this drive, as the Steelers offense was anything but conservative.  They didn’t want a field goal to send it to overtime — they wanted to WIN the game. Ben hit Santonio Holmes for a 40 yard pass, and then… it happened.  He lobed a pass to the back corner of the end zone, where Santonio Holmes made an Oh-My-God catch, planted both feet down, and gave the Steelers their 6th Super Bowl victory in franchise history.

Santonio Holmes was named the MVP, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin became the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl.   It was simply an amazing game, and will be remembered as one of the top Super Bowls of all-time.  Just a riveting fourth quarter, marked by some heroic plays in the game’s final minutes.  This one will be talked about for years to come.  Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23.

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