Hines Ward set the tone early for the Steelers.
On Pittsburgh’s first offensive possession, Ward mixed it up with Baltimore’s Ed Reed and was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
Ward more than made up for it later with a touchdown reception and a key third-down catch on the Steelers game-winning drive. He was also an emotional leader throughout the game and the win felt good for Ward.
“And what a better way to win and put Baltimore out of the tournament. They asked for us and they kept asking for us. Sometimes, like my momma always said, be careful what you ask for,” said Ward.
Even with a 21-7 halftime deficit, the veteran leadership in Pittsburgh’s locker room made sure that they would not give up.
“The way we fell behind, the way we believed in ourselves, the way we fought back ... we never gave up,” said James Farrior. “We came into the locker room at halftime, and guys just talked about needing to go back out there and do our jobs.”
That is exactly what they did.
The defense played lights out, forcing three turnovers while holding Baltimore to only 28 yards in the second half.
Behind Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh’s offense used the effort of their defense to put up 24 points leading the Steelers to the AFC Championship game.