Steelers AFC Divisional Playoff Post-Game Notes

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STEELERS vs. CHARGERS AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF GAME SUNDAY, JANUARY 11, 2009 AT HEINZ FIELD KICKOFF 4:45 P.M. POST-GAME NOTES **

Team Notes:
• Pittsburgh advanced to its 14th AFC Championship Game in team history with the victory over the San Diego Chargers.
• Pittsburgh won its first game in the postseason against the Chargers (1-2 all-time).
• The victory was the first for the Steelers in the postseason since their 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL (Feb. 5, 2006).
• The Steelers improved to 29-20 all-time in the postseason.
• Pittsburgh improved to 14-7 all-time in the divisional playoff round, including an 11-1 record at home.
• The 35 points are the most for Pittsburgh in a postseason game since they scored 36 in a 36-33 victory over the Cleveland Browns in the 2002 AFC Wild Card Game.
• San Diego jumped out to an early 7-0 lead as QB Philip Rivers hit WR Vincent Jackson for a 41-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the game. The four-play, 75-yard drive lasted just over two minutes.
WR Santonio Holmestied the score at 7-7 as he returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown, his first career postseason punt return for a score. It marked the Steelers' first punt return for a touchdown since WR Antwaan Randle El returned one 66 yards against Cleveland in the 2002 AFC Wild Card Game at Heinz Field (Jan. 5, 2003). The 67-yard punt return by Holmes is the longest in team history in the postseason.
• After the Steelers failed to convert a fourth-and-one on a fake punt, the Chargers grabbed a 10-7 lead as K Nate Kaeding booted a 42-yard field goal with less than two minutes remaining.
• Pittsburgh responded with a 66-yard drive that culminated with a three-yard rushing touchdown by RB Willie Parkerto make it 14-10 at the half. It was Parker's third career rushing touchdown in the postseason and his first since his 75-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl XL on Feb. 5, 2006.
• The Steelers upped their lead to 21-10 on the first drive of the second half as QB Ben Roethlisbergertossed an eight-yard touchdown pass to TE Heath Miller. The 13-play drive was highlighted by Roethlisberger going 5-for-6 for 54 yards, including the eight-yard touchdown. It was Miller's third career postseason touchdown reception.
• Pittsburgh used a two-play, 49-yard drive to gain a 28-10 advantage in the fourth quarter as RB Gary Russellran in from one yard out for his first career postseason touchdown. The drive was highlighted by a pass interference penalty on San Diego for interfering with WR Nate Washingtonin the end zone.
• Rivers tossed a four-yard touchdown pass to WR Legedu Naanee with nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to trim the lead to 28-17.
• Parker scored his second touchdown of the game with a 16-yarder with just over four minutes left in the game, giving Pittsburgh a 35-17 lead. It marks Parker's first multi-touchdown postseason game.
• San Diego cut the advantage to 35-24 with less than two minutes remaining in the game as Rivers hit RB Darren Sproles for a 62-yard touchdown.
• Pittsburgh finished with 342 yards of total offense (165 rushing, 177 passing) and limited the Chargers to 290 yards of offense (15 rushing, 275 passing). The 15 rushing yards are the fewest the Steelers have allowed in the postseason.
• The Steelers held the Chargers to just one play and no yards in the third quarter as LB Larry Foote picked off a pass on San Diego's lone play in the quarter.
• The Steelers led 14-10 at the half and went on to win their eighth straight postseason game when leading at the half.
• Pittsburgh converted 43 percent (6-of-14) of its third downs while the Chargers converted 42 percent (5-of-12).
• The Steelers were penalized seven times for 44 yards while the Chargers were flagged eight times for 104 yards.
• Pittsburgh held the ball for 36:30 to the Chargers' 23:30.
• Pittsburgh had 22 first downs and limited San Diego to 15.
• The Steelers posted four sacks, including two by LB LaMarr Woodley.
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 17-of-26 for 181 yards passing with one touchdown and no interceptions (98.4 passer rating).
• Tossed an eight-yard touchdown pass to TE Heath Miller on the first drive of the second half. On the drive, he was 5-for-6 for 54 yards.
• Had a 25-yard punt on the first drive of the game, his third career punt.
• Improved to 6-2 all-time as a starter in the postseason.
 
RB Willie Parker
• Finished with a personal-best 146 yards rushing in the postseason on 27 carries (5.4 avg.), his first career 100-yard rushing game in the playoffs.
• His 146 yards are the third-highest in team postseason history and the most since Hall of Famer Franco Harris finished with 153 yards against the Baltimore Colts on Dec. 27, 1975.
• Scored two touchdowns, including a three-yarder in the second quarter and a 16-yarder in the fourth quarter. It marked his first career multi-touchdown game in the postseason.
 
RB Gary Russell
• Rushed four times for five yards with one touchdown.
• Had a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, his first career postseason touchdown.
• Returned two kickoffs for 33 yards (16.5 avg.).
 
WR Hines Ward
• Finished with a team-best four catches for 70 yards (17.5 avg.), including a 41-yarder.
• Has now caught a pass in 12 straight postseason games, the third-longest streak in team history.
• Moved into second place on the team's all-time list for receiving yards in the postseason ahead of Lynn Swann as he now has 966 career postseason yards.
• Became the first receiver in team history to post at least 70 catches in the postseason as he now has 71 career postseason receptions.
 
WR Santonio Holmes
• Finished with two catches for 25 yards (12.5 avg.) and returned two punts for 73 yards (36.5 avg.).
• Had a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter, marking his first career punt return for a touchdown in the postseason. It also marks the longest punt return in team postseason history. It was his second career punt return for a touchdown (Dec. 17, 2006 at Carolina).
 
WR Nate Washington
• Finished with three catches for 30 yards (10.0 avg.), including a long of 18 yards.
 
TE Heath Miller
• Caught an eight-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, his third career postseason touchdown reception.
• Finished with three catches for 37 yards (12.3 avg.) and one touchdown.
 
LB James Farrior
• Finished with a team-high nine tackles (seven solo).
 
LB Larry Foote
• Finished with five tackles (all solo) and picked off his second career postseason pass.
 
LB LaMarr Woodley
• Posted two sacks for 18 yards, the first two of his career in the postseason.
• Finished with five tackles (four solo).
 
LB James Harrison
• Finished with four tackles (two solo) and one sack, giving him 2.5 for his career in the postseason.
 
DE Brett Keisel
• Finished with four tackles (three solo), including two tackles for loss, and one sack.
• His eight-yard sack was the third postseason sack of his career.
 
P Mitch Berger
• Punted four times for 192 yards (48.0 avg.), including a long of 51 yards.
 
K Jeff Reed
• Was a perfect 5-for-5 in PATs for five points.
 

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