By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com The Steelers made history when they defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII to win their sixth Super Bowl, the first team in NFL history to accomplish that.
Some last minute heroics by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes secured the win, when he scored the go ahead touchdown with just 35 seconds left on the clock.
The Steelers were in control for the majority of the game, but the Cardinals fought back to take a late lead. That's when Roethlisberger and Holmes hooked for the game-winning drive.
The Steelers came out of the gates strong, driving down the field on their opening drive. Roethlisberger hit Hines Ward at the 50-yard line and Ward broke free for a 38-yard gain to the Cardinals 32-yard line. Willie Parker rattled off a nine-yard run and added a one-yard carry for the first down. Roethlisberger went to the air again, connecting with Heath Miller at the one-yard line. On first-and-goal Gary Russell lost four yards, but Parker got them right back. Roethlisberger took it himself on third-and-goal for an apparent touchdown, but the Cardinals challenged the call and he was ruled down short of the goal line. Jeff Reed came on for a chip shot from 18 yards out to give the Steelers the 3-0 lead.
James Farrior stopped Edgerrin James for no gain on the Cardinals first offensive play, but Kurt Warner was then able to find Steve Breaston for a 10-yard gain to their 37-yard line. A holding call on the next play backed the Cardinals up to the 27-yard line. Warner fumbled the snap on the next play, but James came up with the recovery. The Cardinals weren't able to get out of the hole they dug themselves, though, and were forced to punt.
Roethlisberger continued with the hot hand, hitting Santonio Holmes who turned it in to a 25-yard gain to the Cardinals 44-yard line. Roethlisberger hit Holmes again for five yards, but a false start on the next play wiped out the gain. On third-and-10 Roethlisberger worked his magic, escaping the pressure, getting free and then firing it across to field to Miller for an 11-yard gain. Roethlisberger went back to Miller for 11 yards before Parker went off right tackle for eight yards to the 14-yard line. A short gain by Parker and completion to Miller gave the Steelers a third-and-goal at the one-yard line. This time there would be no denying them as Gary Russell took it off right guard for the touchdown and 10-0 lead.
The Cardinals came marching back, though, with a key play in their drive a 45-yard completion to Anquan Boldin at the one-yard line. Warner hit Ben Patrick for the one-yard touchdown to pull the Cardinals within a field goal at 10-7.
Neither team was able to go anywhere on the next drive, but then the Cardinals got a huge break when Bryan Robinson tipped a Roethlisberger pass and Karlos Dansby intercepted it at the Steelers 33-yard line. The Steelers got pressure on Warner forcing two incomplete passes, but on third down Warner hit Tim Hightower for a first down. Warner kept it in the air with an 11-yard completion to Larry Fitzgerald for a 12-yard gain toe the 12-yard line. Boldin pulled in a seven-yard gain and added a four-yard gain to the one-yard line.
Just as the Cardinals were poised to at the very least tie the game going into the half, Harrison showed why he was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year when he intercepted Warner at the goal line. Harrison, who was aided by blocks along the right sideline, returned it 100 yards for a touchdown as time ran out in the half for a 17-7 lead. The touchdown was the longest play in Super Bowl history.
The Cardinals came out in the second half and started to move the ball with a completion to Boldin and then three consecutive runs by James for a combined total of 19 yards. The defense shut the door fast, though, allowing just two short gains and then forcing an incompletion when Farrior got to Warner to force an incompletion.
Holmes pulled in a six-yard reception along the sideline, but a face mask call added another 15 yards. Roethlisberger kept things rolling with completions to Matt Spaeth for six yards and Ward for five. Roethlisberger had to get rid of the ball while under pressure, but was hit late on the play for a 15-yard penalty, giving the Steelers the ball on the Cardinals 35-yard line. Roethlisberger hit Holmes for 15 yards and Parker went off right tackle for 15 yards. The Steelers weren't able to punch it into the end zone, and Reed came on for a 27-yard field goal, but the Cardinals were called for a personal foul when holder Mitch Berger was run over. The Steelers got a new set of downs, but still had to settle for a Reed field goal for a 20-7 lead with 2:16 to play in the third quarter.
The Cardinals weren't going away, though. Warner engineered an impressive scoring drive, completing all eight of his pass attempts for the 87 yards of the scoring drive, which culminated in a one-yard touchdown reception by Fitzgerald to pull them within six at 20-14.
Things continued to go in the Cardinals favor when they pinned the Steelers back at their own one-yard line. On third down, center Justin Hartwig was called for holding in the end zone, resulting in a safety to close the gap to 20-16.
The Cardinals made it count, when Fitzgerald caught a 64-yard touchdown pass from Warner, to take their first lead of the game, 23-20.
The Steelers fought back, though, and Holmes scored the winning touchdown with just 35 seconds left on the clock.
Steelers are Super Bowl Champs - Again!!!
By Teresa Varley