Steelers AFC Championship Game Post-Game Notes

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 STEELERS vs. RAVENS AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SUNDAY, JANUARY 18, 2009 KICKOFF IS AT 6:30 P.M. HEINZ FIELD 

POST-GAME NOTES

Team Notes:
• Pittsburgh advanced to its seventh Super Bowl with the win over the Ravens. The seven trips to the Super Bowl are the second most in NFL history, trailing only the Dallas Cowboys (8). The Steelers' five wins in the Super Bowl are tied for the most with Dallas and San Francisco.
• The Steelers won their first-ever AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field (1-2) and their first in Pittsburgh since a 20-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 14, 1996. Pittsburgh's win over the Ravens at home in the AFC title game snapped a three-game losing streak in such games in Pittsburgh.
• Pittsburgh improved to 7-7 all-time in AFC Championship Games, including a 5-5 record at home and a 2-2 record on the road. The Steelers' 14 appearances in AFC Championship Games are tied for the most in AFC/AFL history with the Oakland Raiders.
• The Steelers seven wins in an AFC Championship Game are the most in the conference history. New England is second with six AFC championships.
• The Steelers improved to 30-20 (.600) all-time in the postseason, including an 18-10 record at home, 7-9 mark on the road and a 5-1 record in neutral sites (Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, XIV, XXX and XL).
• The Steelers have played in 50 career playoff games, which is second all-time behind Dallas (56).
• Pittsburgh improved to 2-0 in the postseason against the Baltimore Ravens.
• The Steelers are 3-0 in the postseason when playing a team a third time after sweeping the season series (Baltimore - 2008; Cleveland - 1994, 2004).
• Pittsburgh is 3-0 in AFC Championship Games at home when playing a team for the third time in the same season. Pittsburgh is 5-0 at home all-time in the postseason when facing a team for the third time.
• The Steelers improved to 8-0 overall in the postseason against division foes, including a 2-0 record against the Ravens, 1-0 against Cincinnati, 2-0 versus Cleveland and 3-0 against the Houston Oilers.
• Pittsburgh improved to 2-1 in the postseason under Head Coach Mike Tomlin.
• Pittsburgh has now won six of its last seven postseason games.
• The announced crowd of 65,350 is the largest crowd in Heinz Field history, surpassing the 2004 AFC Championship Game total of 65,242 against New England on Jan. 23, 2005.
• Pittsburgh opened up a 3-0 lead on the first drive of the game as K Jeff Reedbooted a 34-yard field goal at the 11:22 mark of the first quarter. The drive was highlighted by a 45-yard reception by WR Hines Ward, which marked his 13th straight game with at least one reception. It also gave him 1,011 career receiving yards in the postseason, becoming just the second player in team history to post at least 1,000 yards receiving in the postseason. Ward joins Hall of Famer John Stallworth.
• The Steelers upped their lead to 6-0 as Reed booted a 42-yard field goal on the next drive after CB Deshea Townsendposted his second career postseason interception. Pittsburgh appeared to have a first-and-goal at the one-foot line but the call was overturned.
• Pittsburgh outgained the Ravens 92-17 in the first quarter and did not allow Baltimore to gain a first down.
WR Santonio Holmeshad a 65-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter to make it 13-0. It was Holmes' second career postseason receiving touchdown and his third career postseason score (punt return versus San Diego last week). It also was QB Ben Roethlisberger's career-long pass in the postseason.
• Baltimore trimmed the lead to 13-7 with less than three minutes remaining as RB Willis McGahee scored from three yards out. The touchdown was set up by a 45-yard punt return by S Jim Leonhard and a pass interference on the three-yard line.
• The Steelers finished the first half with 208 yards (28 rushing, 180 passing) of total offense while limiting the Ravens to just 74 yards (42 rushing, 32 passing).
• Pittsburgh added to their lead with 3:38 left in the third quarter as Reed booted his third field goal of the game, this one from 46 yards. The 46-yarder is the second-longest field goal by Reed in the postseason (47-yarder at Denver in 2005 AFC Championship Game).
• Baltimore cut the advantage to 16-14 as McGahee scored his second touchdown of the game, a one-yarder with 9:29 left in the game. The score was set up by a pass interference by CB Ike Taylorin the end zone.
S Troy Polamalusealed the Pittsburgh victory with a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown with 4:24 remaining in the game. It was Polamalu's third career postseason interception and his first for a touchdown.
• Pittsburgh outgained the Ravens 275-198 in total offense.
• The Steelers managed to gain just 11 first downs to Baltimore's 13.
• The Steelers converted 7-of-18 (39%) third downs while the Ravens converted only 3-of-13 (23%) on third down.
• Pittsburgh controlled the ball for 33:09 (Baltimore - 26:51).
• Both teams were penalized six times.
• The Steelers finished with three sacks while the Ravens posted four sacks.
QB Dennis Dixon (3rd QB), S Anthony Smith, CB Fernando Bryant, LB Bruce Davis, OT Tony Hills,DT Scott Paxson, OT Jason Capizziand DE Orpheus Royewere inactive.
 
Individual Notes:
QB Ben Roethlisberger
• Finished 16-of-33 for 255 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions (84.8 passer rating).
• Hit WR Santonio Holmes for a 65-yard touchdown in the second quarter, the longest pass for him in his postseason career.
• Improved to 7-2 as a starter in the postseason. His seven wins are the second-most playoff wins by a quarterback in the first five seasons of their career, surpassing Hall of Famer Troy Aikman (6) and trailing only Tom Brady (9).
• Had completions to eight different receivers.
• Has 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in nine postseason games.
 
RB Willie Parker
• Finished with 47 yards rushing on 24 attempts (2.0 avg.).
 
WR Hines Ward
• Finished with three catches for 55 yards (18.3 avg.) before leaving in the first half with a knee injury.
• Hauled in a 45-yard pass on a third-and-12 on the first possession of the game. With the catch, Ward became just the second player in team history to post at least 1,000 career postseason receiving yards (1,011).
• Has now caught a pass in 13 straight postseason games, which is tied for the second-longest streak in team history.
 
WR Santonio Holmes
• Finished with two receptions for 70 yards (35.0 avg.) with one touchdown.
• Had a 65-yard touchdown reception from Roethlisberger early in the second quarter, his second career receiving touchdown in the postseason. It also marked his third straight postseason game with a touchdown as he had a punt return for a touchdown in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against San Diego last week.
• The 65-yard touchdown catch was also a career long in the playoffs.
• Had a 25-yard punt return late in the first half.
• Finished with three punt returns for 25 yards (8.3 avg.).
 
WR Nate Washington
• Finished with three catches for 21 yards (7.0 avg.).
• Had one rush for one yard.
 
TE Heath Miller
• Finished with three catches for 62 yards (20.7 avg.).
• Had a 30-yard reception in the third quarter.
 
LB James Farrior
• Finished with a team-high nine tackles (six solo) with one pass defense.
 
LB LaMarr Woodley
• Finished with seven tackles (five solo), including two sacks.
• Posted a four-yard sack in the third quarter and a five-yard sack in the fourth quarter.
• Has six sacks in three career postseason games, becoming the first player in NFL history to record three consecutive multi-sack playoff games.
 
LB James Harrison
• Finished with six tackles (five solo) with one QB hurry.
 
LB Lawrence Timmons
• Recovered his first career postseason fumble in the fourth quarter.
• Finished with four tackles (three solo).
 
DE Aaron Smith
• Posted his third career postseason sack as he took down QB Joe Flacco midway through the second quarter.
• Finished with four tackles (one sack).
 
CB Deshea Townsend
• Posted his second career interception on the Ravens' second drive of the game.
• Finished with one tackle.
 
S Ryan Clark
• Posted eight tackles (all solo) and had one forced fumble late in the fourth quarter.
 
S Troy Polamalu
• Finished with four tackles (three solo) and one interception for a touchdown.
• Returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown, his third career interception and his first for a score.
**

S Tyrone Carter
• Posted his first career postseason interception on the Ravens' last drive of the game.
 
**K Jeff Reed

• Finished a perfect 3-for-3 in FGs and 2-for-2 in PATs for 11 points.
• Hit two field goals in the first quarter, a 34-yarder and a 42-yarder.
• Had a 46-yard field goal in the third quarter, the second-longest of his career in the postseason (47-yarder at Denver in 2005 AFC Championship Game).
 

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