In a crazy season where the Steelers have lost to some of the worst defenses in the league, they chose the Green Bay Packers, with one of the league's best defenses, to light up the Pack for 503 yards passing and a thrilling 37-36 win as time expired.
Big Ben hit Mike Wallace along the sideline with his second touchdown catch in a near mirror-reverse example of the Santonio Holmes SuperBowl touchdown catch as the clock wound down to zero.
With the score tied at 36, all that remained was a pressure-packed Jeff Reed extra point for the victory. When the kick cleared the uprights it was soon announced that it was the first 37-36 finish in the entire history of the NFL.
While Big Ben and the offense were clicking on all cylinders, the defense was back to its' old fourth quarter tricks, allowing 22 points in the final stanza. That the Steelers nearly lost a game where their offense was shattering 75-year-old records speaks volumes for how far the defense has slipped as a unit. If and when Troy polamalu comes back, it can't be too soon.
In fact, Tomlin even went for an on-sides kick after kicking a field goal that gave them a two point lead! If that didn't speak volumes that the coach himself had no confidence in the Steelers "swiss cheese" secondary, nothing would.
The on-sides kick was actually a good strategy. What wasn't a good strategy was having "no-hands" Ike Taylor at the line to get the surprise kick. Taylor, never reputed to be a "brain specialist" on his days off, did not allow the kick to travel the necessary ten yards, thus resulting in a deadly "illegal touching" penalty. As might be expected, the Packers went down and prompty scored the go-ahead touchdown adding a two point conversion for good measure for a 36-30 lead. But it was now Big Ben time.
Roethlisberger, who is already well on his way to becoming the greatest come-from-behind qb in team history was vintage Big Ben in the final drive. Utilizing all of his receivers, he found rookie Mike Wallace for another scintillating touchdown. A virtual carbon copy of the Santonio SuperBowl gem, Wallace's catch wasn't as big, but it saved the Steelers' season, so it was plenty big enough. With the hated Ravens coming to town next week, the Steelers are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot. The Steelers end their regular season the week after in Miami. With a potential 9-7 season they can still make it, but without Troy Polamalu in the lineup, don't get your hopes too high. Everyone in the Steeler locker room I'm sure would tell you that although it was a thrilling win, this was not the way to win games in the NFL.
But at least the team hasn't quit, which before today, everyone was beginning to wonder.
GAME NOTES: Big Ben's 503 yards eclipsed Drew Brees' record that was set back in 2006...Roethlisberger was 29-46 and had three TD passes...Aaron Rodgers was also very effective, completing 26 of 48 for 383 yards and three touchdowns...Despite 94 passes being thrown, there were no interceptions although on the final drive the Packers had one nullified because of a defensive holding call.