Troy's plays were legendary

April 10, 2015
Troy Polamalu Retires

Two years ago today, Steelers safety Troy Polamalu retired. Here is a look back at some of the best plays in his career.

Steelers at Cleveland BrownsNovember 24, 2013FirstEnergy StadiumSteelers 27, Browns 11

Polamalu earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against the Browns in a 27-11 win. Polamalu registered four tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass defensed.

The two forced fumbles were a single-game career high, giving him three for the season.

His first forced fumble, which he also recovered, came with under two minutes remaining in the first half and led to a field goal that gave the Steelers a 13-3 lead heading into halftime.

"It was a great play from Polamalu, it looked like to me on the replay," said Browns Coach Rob Chudzinski after the game. "We just have to protect it in those situations. I thought that we had something going on that drive there right before the half. Obviously, that turnover and they were able to get a field goal out of that. It was a complete swing in the game."

Steelers vs. Cincinnati BengalsDecember 12, 2010Heinz FieldSteelers 23, Bengals 7

Polamalu won AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second straight week, this time for his performance in the Steelers 23-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Polamalu got the Steelers on the board when he intercepted his former college roommate Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.

"Troy had a tremendous break on the play," said Tomlin. "Whether or not he was baiting Carson is debatable.  It was a route that he was familiar with.  I think TO (Terrell Owens) was the intended receiver, and may have tripped or stumbled coming out of his break.  I think that provided the necessary grass that Troy needed to come down hill on the ball and make the play.  But no question, Troy was in great position and he had a great break on the ball."

As had been the case in recent games Polamalu also helped to seal the win with another big play when he intercepted Palmer at the goal line as the Bengals were driving late in the game, returning it to the 12-yard line.

Steelers at Baltimore RavensDecember 5, 2010M&T Bank StadiumSteelers 13, Ravens 10
Another key AFC North game, and another great performance by Polamalu. Polamalu was named the AFC

Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Baltimore Ravens in a 13-10 win.

Polamalu came up big for the Steelers when he sacked Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, stripping the ball free. LaMarr Woodley recovered and returned it to the nine-yard line with 3:13 on the clock and the Steelers trailing 10-6. The offense took advantage when Ben Roethlisberger hit Isaac Redman for a nine-yard touchdown.

"Troy's a great player," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "A lot of guys would go in there and sack the quarterback. He sees the game a little differently, that's what makes him special. He got the ball out, unfortunately, we weren't able to get the ball in the end zone, but our offense finished the job for us."

Polamalu finished the game with five tackles, a sack, forced fumble, and two quarterback hurries.

"That's what Troy does," said running back Rashard Mendenhall after the game. "He always comes through with great plays at the right time. The defense was playing hard and tough all day. We came with pressure, and it was a matter of time before we got a turnover, and we did. We were able to get the ball and we had to put points on the board at that point."

Steelers at Tennessee TitansSeptember 19, 2010LP FieldSteelers 19, Titans 11It's a bird, it's a plane. Nope, it's just Troy.

With Ben Roethlisberger sidelined because of a suspension, Troy Polamalu and the defense stepped up their play to help lead the Steelers to a 19-11 win.

The defense held Titans star running back Chris Johnson to just 34 yards, and the Titans only time in the end zone was on a late touchdown with just 58 seconds to play.

"Against somebody like that you really have to be disciplined," said Polamalu. "And, even when you're in your gap, you still have to make a tackle. He is such a great running back, one gap short, you know, you saw what could have happened."

One of the defining plays of the game came when Polamalu perfectly timed the snap by Titans quarterback Kerry Collins and went airborne to sacks Collins.

  Steelers vs. Baltimore RavensAFC Championship GameJanuary 18, 2009Heinz FieldSteelers 23, Ravens 14
When the Steelers needed him the most, Polamalu came through big. With a trip to Super Bowl XLV on the line, Polamalu had five tackles, four of them solo stops and two passes defensed.

The key play was

a fourth quarter interception of Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens pulled to within two on a Willis McGahee one-yard touchdown. The Steelers offense followed with a three-and-out, and Flacco got the ball back looking to take the lead.

On third-and-13 from the Ravens' 29-yard line, Polamalu intercepted Flacco and at the 40-yard line and took it all the way back for a 40-yard touchdown and 23-14 Steelers lead, which would secure the win and a trip to the Super Bowl.

Earlier in the same game, Polamalu was also Flacco's biggest foe. The Ravens were going for it on fourth-and-one from the Steelers' 34-yard line. Polamalu fought his way over the pile and stopped any forward progress by Flacco, forcing the Ravens to turn the ball over on downs.

Steelers vs. San Diego ChargersNovember 16, 2008Heinz FieldSteelers 11, Chargers 10

It was an early play, but one that is easy to remember. Polamalu made one of his "Troy being Troy" plays when Philip Rivers' pass intended for Chris Chambers was broken up by Ryan Clark and then deflected towards Polamalu. Polamalu dove to scoop up the ball before it hit the ground with an amazing one-handed interception. Nothing short of spectacular, but something that came to be expected from Polamalu. 
* *

Steelers at Cleveland BrownsNovember 19, 2006Cleveland Browns StadiumSteelers 24, Browns 20

Polamalu had seven tackles, one sack and two passes defensed. Polamalu took control late in the game to help the Steelers come back and win. With the black and gold down 20-17, he almost single-handedly accounted for the Browns having to punt the ball back to the Steelers, who went on to score a game-winning touchdown.

The Browns had the ball and on first down he sacked quarterback Charlie Frye. On second down he tackled Jason Wright and on third down recorded a pass defense on a pass intended for Kellen Winslow. The Browns punted, and the Steelers scored and won.


Steelers vs. BengalsOctober 3, 2004Heinz FieldSteelers 28, Bengals 17**
Polamalu scored the first touchdown of his NFL career when he intercepted Carson Palmer and had a dramatic 26-yard return for a touchdown, eluding would be tacklers en route to the end zone.

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