STEELERS 32, CARDINALS 20
Steelers' record: 5-2
One year ago: 5-2
Series record (including playoffs): Steelers lead, 34-23-3
Coach Mike Tomlin assessed the situation leading up to the game in Arizona: "Whatever the elements are, I am less concerned about that and more concerned about us putting together winning performances. It is a hostile environment. You don't have the support of your own crowd. I am just acknowledging that we have been below the line in many instances on the road, and that needs to change."
The Cardinals had just cashed in on a 73-yard catch-and-run by LaRod Stephens-Howling, and the Steelers' lead had been trimmed to 17-14. But Ben Roethlisberger came right back to complete 6-of-8 for 80 yards on the ensuing possession, including a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders to restore the lead to 24-14.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
After their 95-yard hookup for a touchdown in the first half, Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace have now combined for 11 touchdowns of 40-plus yards.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
* On Arizona's opening series, pressure from Lawrence Timmons forced a quick throw from Kevin Kolb that was deflected by James Farrior and intercepted by Ryan Clark. It was the Steelers second interception of the season, the first by a defensive back.
- On a second-and-15, a quick pass to Antonio Brown gained 16 yards thanks to key blocks from Heath Miller and Hines Ward. A few plays later, Miller got behind Clark Haggans was wide open to catch a 12-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger that gave the Steelers an early 7-0 lead.
- On a second-and-6 from the Steelers 39-yard line midway through the second quarter, Kevin Kolb had tight end Rob Housler wide open down the middle of the field for a touchdown, but he missed him badly. The Cardinals punted after another incomplete pass on third down.
- One snap after David Johnson was flagged for a false start, Roethlisberger looped a perfect deep pass to Mike Wallace, who got behind CB Richard Marshall, stepped out of a tackle by safety Rashad Johnson and then out-ran Marshall down the sideline to complete a 95-yard touchdown play. It was the second-longest play from scrimmage in Steelers history, behind a 97-yard run by Bobby Gage on Dec. 14, 1949.
- On what would have been LaMarr Woodley's third sack of the afternoon, Kevin Kolb committed an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone rather than take the sack. But the end result was the same – a safety – and the Steelers had a 26-14 lead with under four minutes to play in the third quarter.
- Mike Wallace has caught at least one pass of 40 or more yards in six straight games. That is the longest such streak since Isaac Bruce of the Rams also had a six-game streak in 2000.
WHAT WENT WRONG
* The Steelers came away with an interception on Arizona's first offensive possession, and they had a chance for a second on the Cardinals' second series, but Troy Polamalu couldn't hold onto an overthrown ball from Kevin Kolb that hit him right in the stomach.
- On the 80-yard touchdown drive that cut the Steelers lead to 14-7, the Cardinals were helped considerably by two penalties assessed on Ike Taylor. The first was for illegal contact, and it came on an incomplete pass on third-and-6 from the Steelers 26-yard line. The second was for holding on an incomplete pass on third-and-6 from the Steelers 17-yard line.
- Penalties, penalties, penalties. In the first half, the Steelers were assessed six times for a total of 44 yards. There were two false starts – on Weslye Saunders and David Johnson – a personal foul on Chris Kemoeatu, and then three on Ike Taylor, for defensive holding, illegal contact and pass interference. Kemoeatu's facemask penalty was nullified by a defensive holding call on the Cardinals on the same play.
- One play after LaMarr Woodley's second sack of the game, Kevin Kolb found RB LaRod Stephens-Howling on a short crossing route where he was able to turn a corner and get up the sideline for the 73-yard touchdown that cut the Steelers lead to 17-14 with 9:26 left in the third quarter.
SMITH LANDS ON IR; BRYANT ADDED TO 53
On the day they traveled to Arizona, the Steelers placed Aaron Smith on the injured reserve list. It was the third time in Smith's 13-year career he has been placed on IR, with the previous times coming in 2007 and 2009. In 2010, Smith also missed 13 games, including postseason, after needing surgery to repair a torn triceps.
Smith is arguably the best 3-4 defensive end in franchise history, and in a 13-year career he has started 152 games and posted 44 sacks to rank 10th on the team's all-time list.
After coming back to start the first four games in 2011, Smith missed the next two with a foot injury. But the injury that landed him on injured reserve was to his neck.
The Steelers filled Smith's spot by signing rookie free agent defensive end Corbin Bryant to the active roster. Bryant has spent the first six weeks of the season on the Steelers' practice squad.