Earlier this year, the NFL and YouTube combined efforts and allowed fans to vote on the three most memorable games for each of the league’s 32 teams.
The fans have spoken! Steelers fans selected the 2005 AFC Divisional Playoff versus the Colts as one of the three Steelers games to be made available – in full – on YouTube.
The Steelers took a 21-3 lead into the fourth quarter of the 2005 AFC Divisional Playoff at Indianapolis, when the Colts caught fire. They scored 15 points over a 10-minute span, to close the gap to 21-18 with 4:24 to play in the game. The Steelers weren’t able to move the ball on their next drive, putting pressure on the defense to stop Peyton Manning and the Colts offense that was lighting up the scoreboard. And they did just that. Joey Porter sacked Manning for an eight yard loss, then combined with James Farrior for a 10-yard sack on fourth down from the Colts 12-yard line.
With just 1:20 on the clock, and the taking over at the two-yard line, the Steelers looked poised for an easy ride to the AFC Championship game. But it was anything but. Jerome Bettis got the carry from the two and was hit by Gary Brackett, knocking the ball free. Nick Harper scooped it up and took off running, while the Steelers’ sideline looked on in stunned amazement. What was a seemingly easy end of the game, was suddenly becoming a nightmare. Until Ben Roethlisberger, the unlikeliest of heroes, made what would become known as “The Tackle.” Roethlisberger got Harper with the shoestring tackle at the Colts 42-yard line, ending what looked like it was destined to be a touchdown return.
The Colts looked in control with 1:01 to play and the ball at their own 42-yard line. Manning hit Reggie Wayne for a 22-yard gain, and followed that up with an eight-yard completion to Marvin Harrison at the Steelers 28-yard line. Facing fourth-and-two with 21 seconds to play, kicker Mike Vanderjagt came on for the game-winning 46-yard field goal. The Steelers called timeout to ice him, and whether that did the trick or not, the kick went wide right. The rest as they say, is history. The Steelers won the game, went on to beat the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game, and then won Super Bowl XL over the Seattle Seahawks.
View photos from the Steelers 21-18 victory in the AFC Divisional Playoff game vs. the Colts on Jan. 15, 2006.