STEELERS 34, TITANS 7
SEPTEMBER 11 AT PITTSBURGH
GAME STATS: ROETHLISBERGER: 218 PASSING YARDS, 2 TOUCHDOWN PASSES; PARKER: 161
Playing in his first regular-season game, TE Heath Miller got his professional
career off to a rousing start with this first-quarter touchdown reception--his
first of six TD catches in the season.
STEELERS 27, TEXANS 7
SEPTEMBER 18 AT HOUSTON
GAME STATS: ROETHLISBERGER: 254 PASSING YARDS, 2 TOUCHDOWN PASSES; PARKER: 111
In a homage to the days of the Steel Curtain, the Pittsburgh D rang up eight
sacks of Texans QB David Carr, including this high-stepping fourth-quarter one
by LB Troy Polamalu.
PATRIOTS 23, STEELERS 20
SEPTEMBER 25 AT PITTSBURGH
GAME STATS: ROETHLISBERGER: 216 PASSING YARDS, 2 TOUCHDOWN PASSES; PARKER: 55
The winning streak was short-lived; the Steelers were upended--literally, in
the case of LB Larry Foote--by New England, as Tom Brady torched the defense
for 372 yards.
STEELERS 24, CHARGERS 22
OCTOBER 10 AT SAN DIEGO
GAME STATS: ROETHLISBERGER: 225 PASSING YARDS, 1 TOUCHDOWN PASS; BETTIS: 54
Pittsburgh's ninth straight road victory was marred by a knee injury to Ben
Roethlisberger on the game's final drive. Jeff Reed booted a 40-yard field goal
with six seconds left to seal the win.
JAGUARS 23, STEELERS 17
OCTOBER 16 AT PITTSBURGH
GAME STATS: MADDOX: 154 PASSING YARDS, 1 TOUCHDOWN PASS; PARKER: 55 RUSHING
In his first start since losing the job to Ben Roethlisberger in '04, Tommy
Maddox (left) threw three interceptions, including one in OT that Rashean
Mathis returned for the game-winning TD.
STEELERS 27, BENGALS 13
OCTOBER 23 AT CINCINNATI
GAME STATS: ROETHLISBERGER: 93 PASSING YARDS, 2 TOUCHDOWN PASSES; PARKER: 131
The Steelers' defense terrorized Carson Palmer all day, including this sack by
defensive end Travis Kirschke, forcing the Bengals' Pro Bowler into throwing
two costly interceptions.
WINNING THE OLD FASHIONED WAY
Passing's pretty, but the Steelers showed the Bengals that offense starts from
the ground up
The moment of truth in the 2005 AFC North race came on Oct. 23, midway through
the first half of the game between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati at Paul Brown
Stadium. The Steelers, trailing the Bengals by 1� games in the division
standings, were lucky to be losing by only 3-0. Cincinnati receiver Chris Henry
had dropped a pass in the end zone, and Shayne Graham later missed a 30-yard
With 2:36 left in
the first quarter Pittsburgh went to work at its 40-yard line. Running back
Willie Parker bulled for four, one and six yards, then wideout Hines Ward ran a
reverse for four. " Steelers football," Jerome Bettis, who came off the
bench to spell Parker, would say later.
With Bettis in
the backfield, it was time for the Bengals to make a stand. Pittsburgh blew
right through them. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit tight end Heath Miller
on a crossing route for 20 yards. Then, boom! Bettis for three behind left
tackle Marvel Smith. Bam! Bettis for 10 past the block of center Jeff Hartings.
Bang! Bettis for five behind left guard Alan Faneca. On second-and-goal on the
two everyone in the stadium knew who would get the ball next. So what did
offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt call? Play-action to Bettis, the lone
setback, and a crossing pattern for Miller through the back of the end zone.
"Give me a good fake on this one, JB," Roethlisberger said to Bettis as
they broke the huddle. Bettis sold it, and Roethlisberger floated an easy
rainbow to an uncovered Miller. Touchdown.
Though the score
came on a pass, the forward thrust of the Cincinnati defense underscored the
value of Bettis--and the respect the Pittsburgh ground game commands from
opponents. Said Whisenhunt, "You saw what the Bengals had to do because
[ Bettis] was in there. People see the romance of throwing the ball 40 times a
game, but running the ball, that's what football was meant to be."--Peter
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Oct. 31, 2005
STEELERS 20, RAVENS 19
OCTOBER 31 AT PITTSBURGH
GAME STATS: ROETHLISBERGER: 177 PASSING YARDS, 2 TOUCHDOWN PASSES; PARKER: 63
WR Hines Ward showed why he is the Steelers' alltime receptions leader with
this acrobatic catch over Chris McAlister. Jeff Reed's 37-yard field goal iced
the Monday-night victory.
STEELERS 20, PACKERS 10
NOVEMBER 6 AT GREEN BAY
GAME STATS: BATCH: 65 PASSING YARDS, 0 TOUCHDOWN PASSES; STALEY: 76 RUSHING
Filling in for injured RBs Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis, Duce Staley, in
only his second game of '05, pounded out 85 total yards and one TD to give
Pittsburgh its first win at Lambeau in 22 years.
STEELERS 34, BROWNS 21
NOVEMBER 13 AT PITTSBURGH
GAME STATS: BATCH: 150 PASSING YARDS, 0 TOUCHDOWN PASSES; STALEY: 64 RUSHING
QB Charlie Batch hadn't started a game since '01, when he was 0-9 with Detroit.
He won his second straight against Cleveland, scoring on a one-yard run before
going out with a hand injury.
RAVENS 16, STEELERS 13
NOVEMBER 20 AT BALTIMORE
GAME STATS: MADDOX: 230 PASSING YARDS, 1 TOUCHDOWN PASS; PARKER: 59 RUSHING
Demoted to third string, QB Tommy Maddox struggled to get the Steelers into the
end zone all day. Pittsburgh's overtime loss ended their team-record 11-game
road winning streak.
COLTS 26, STEELERS 7
NOVEMBER 28 AT INDIANAPOLIS
GAME STATS: ROETHLISBERGER: 133 PASSING YARDS, 1 TOUCHDOWN PASS; PARKER: 43
Top draft pick Heath Miller caught 39 passes as a rookie but couldn't lead the
Steelers past a Colts defense that held Pittsburgh to a meager 197 yards of
BENGALS 38, STEELERS 31
DECEMBER 4 AT PITTSBURGH
GAME STATS: ROETHLISBERGER: 386 PASSING YARDS, 3 TOUCHDOWN PASSES; PARKER: 71
Cedrick Wilson's season-high four catches weren't enough to stop the Steelers'
losing streak as Pittsburgh dropped its third straight for the first time since
STEELERS 21, BEARS 9
DECEMBER 11 AT CHICAGO
GAME STATS: ROETHLISBERGER: 173 PASSING YARDS, 1 TOUCHDOWN PASS; BETTIS: 101
The Bears' defense swallowed WR Antwaan Randle El on this play, but Chicago
couldn't stop Jerome Bettis, who helped the Steelers control the clock for more
than 37 minutes in the snow.
HELLO MUDDER, HELLO, VICTORY
If the Steelers
somehow go on from here, run the table and grab that sixth AFC seed, Jerome
Bettis should get a quadruple playoff share. What he did on the chewed-up
winter pitch at Heinz Field on Dec. 11, with a quasi-blizzard making it hard to
see across the field for two quarters, will go down as one of the 10 best games
of his Canton-worthy career. The stats: 17 carries, 101 yards, two rushing
touchdowns--against the best defense in football, a unit that had allowed four
rushing touchdowns in its first 12 games. He proved himself to be the Mariano
Rivera of football in the second half. Sixteen carries, 100 yards. And the
Bears knew exactly what was coming.
When it was over
and the Steelers had won 21-9, Bettis limped off the field and into the
Pittsburgh locker room, his uniform so muddy, grass-stained and laden with
white chalk you could hardly read the BETTIS above the 36 on his back. Bill
Cowher greeted him near the doorway with a bear hug and an "I love
you!" Owner Dan Rooney took one look at him and said, "You look like a
mudder!" Hines Ward yelled at Bettis.
mudder gallop: Midway through the third quarter, with a second-and-goal at the
Chicago five, Bettis shot through the hole between right guard Kendall Simmons
and tackle Max Starks. Safety Mike Green bounced off him at the four, and here
came the new Bear block of granite. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher met Bettis
head-on at the three, and Bettis carried Urlacher over the goal line.