Cheer the Steelers, the Black and the Gold rang out across the Steeler Nation as the Lamar Hunt trophy was presented to Dan Rooney and the Pittsburgh Steelers after their 23-14 victory over Baltimore in the AFC Championship.
The Steelers played the Baltimore Ravens for the third time this season, and beat them for the third time as well, something they said would not be able to happen.
In an absolute beatdown, a defensive struggle as said to be, the Steelers prevailed to earn the franchise's seventh Super Bowl appearance.
The game opened in one of the slowest first quarters of football ever played capped off by two Jeff Reed field goals.
On a broken play in the second quarter, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found wide receiver Santonio Holmes for a 65-yard catch and run to extend the Steelers' lead to 13.
After a long Leonhard punt return to the Pittsburgh 17, the Ravens looked stopped, but on third down cornerback Bryant McFadden was called for pass interference giving the Ravens first and goal from the Pittsburgh goal line.
Running back Willis McGahee put the Ravens back in the game as he walked untouched into the endzone to make it 13-7.
Roethlisberger then drove the Steelers down field, helped by a Oscar-worthy acting job of punter Mitch Berger whom faked a roughing the kicker penalty.
However, that didn't help as rookie wide receiver Limas Sweed dropped a sure touchdown and used the last team timeout because of his "bruised ego." After an underneath route to Mewelde Moore, the clock ran out with the Steelers up 13-7.
The Steelers were able to put another field goal on in the third quarter to extend the lead to nine points.
Once again, a costly pass interference penalty on Pittsburgh's Ike Taylor, set up McGahee's second touchdown narrowing the point margin to two points, 16-14. For the first time, the game seemed to be a complete turnaround of the past two Steelers-Ravens games.
The Ravens saw through the eyes of the Pittsburgh Steelers and envisioned a last-minute comeback. Troy Polamalu quickly ended the wishful thinking by intercepting Joe Flacco and returning it 45 yards for the touchdown to nail the coffin shut.
Flacco came out again with two minutes left in regulation and threw his third pick of the night, this time to Tyrone Carter, to seal the Pittsburgh victory.
Both teams played equally physical football and left everything on the field. The deciding factors were that the Ravens did not capitalize on the Steelers' mistakes, their playmakers were shut down, and most of all, Joe Flacco played like a rookie.
Congratulations to the Steelers and their first Heinz Field AFC Championship victory and seventh Super Bowl bid.
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