Quarterback Landry Jones waited until six games into his third season to trot onto an NFL field in a game that mattered, so the experience was understandably a little surreal.
"I still can't believe I got in the game," Jones admitted after the Steelers' 23-15 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday at Heinz Field. "I'm still kind of reeling from it."
So are the Cardinals.
Jones completed eight of 12 passes for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns after twice relieving starter Mike Vick (temporarily when Vick got dirt in his eye and for the duration after Vick suffered a hamstring injury).
Jones' passer rating was 149.3.
"All the guys were great," Jones said. "I walked into the huddle and they were all encouraging me. When I came back to the sideline (fellow quarterbacks) Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick and Bruce Gradkowski told me to trust myself and do my thing out there."
Head coach Mike Tomlin perceived his third-string QB as prepared to do so despite Jones' inexperience.
"Landry probably played more preseason snaps than anybody in the history of the National Football League this year," Tomlin observed. "We played in five preseason games. We had injuries at the position and Landry took advantage of it. He got better and it was displayed (against the Cardinals).
"We're thankful for that because it helped us secure the victory and we're happy for him. He had the opportunity to contribute in a big way. I know that's something he's been working tirelessly for. You don't always have control over the opportunity but when you get the opportunity you need to be prepared. I give him credit for that, he was prepared."