Pittsburgh makes good on last possession
PITTSBURGH — Walking off a winner.
Shaun Suisham booted a 34-yard field goal as time expired Sunday, giving Pittsburgh a come-from-behind, 16-14, decision over intra-state rival Philadelphia at a cold and rainy Heinz Field in the Steel City.
It was the Bowling Green product’s eighth three-pointer in as many tries this season, and came at the open end of the stadium, which we all know isn’t a gimme, especially under the not-so-ideal conditions.
“We had the ball last,” Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. “Such is life.”
With bragging rights in the Keystone State up for grabs, the officials dominated the scoreless first quarter as 10 yellow flags continually disrupted play. (Maybe the real referees were making up for lost time!)
Suisham’s game-winner – the fifth of his career and third as a member of the Steelers – capped the furious game-ending drive that saw Ben Roethlisberger lead his team to the 25th comeback victory since his arrival.
“I always have confidence in myself and the guys that we can do it,” the Miami of Ohio product allowed. “It’s good to go down. That was everybody on that drive.”
Philadelphia safety Kurt Coleman, a product of The Ohio State University, said he didn’t see many of the big plays on the drive.
“It’s frustrating because we were in position to make plays,” he said in a quiet lockerroom. “I was on the backside on a few of those plays, so I didn’t see what kind of routes they were running.
“We held them to 16 points. We played a good game. They just made one more play than we did.”
The Eagles dominated much of the first quarter, but a trio of fumbles by star quarterback Michael Vick kept the visitors off the scoreboard. One of those bobbles came inside the Steelers’ 5-yard line, with Ryan Clark causing it and Larry Foote falling on it in the end zone for a touchback.
“Things happen,” Vick admitted. “I wish I could take the fumble back on the goal line but you can’t. Ultimately, I think we put ourselves in a position to win this game and we didn’t win.”
Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid agreed.
“You can’t have turnovers like that,” he said.
Vick bounced back as he fired a pair of scoring strikes. His 2-yard pass to University of Cincinnati product Brent Celek gave the visitors a 14-13 lead with 6:33 left to play.
Roethlisberger was unphased, however.
The Steelers started at their own 20 following the kickoff, but quickly moved backwards with a 10-yard holding penalty. Big Ben found Antonio Brown for a 20-yard pickup on third-and-12 before a 15-yard hookup with Rashard Mendenhall moved the Steelers across the midfield stripe.
An 8-yard completion to Emmanuel Sanders and five straight running plays set the stage for Suisham’s heroics.
The Steelers have a short week as they play in Tennessee Thursday night.
Former Steeler standouts Jack Butler (1951-59) and Dermontti Dawson (1988-2000) were presented the Hall of Fame rings in a halftime ceremony.
In observance to Breast Cancer Awareness, Ford and UPMC Cancer Centers were the co-presenting sponsors of yesterday’s game in celebration of the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. The two groups presented a donation to the Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh and a breast cancer quilt in pre-game festivities.
Since 2007, the Steelers are 5-1 in games following the bye week under Tomlin.
With the hard-earned win, the Steelers extended their winning streak against NFC teams at home to eight games.
Rising pop-country music star Maggie Rose performed prior to the game and then sang the national anthem.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org