2005 AFC Championship Steelers 34 at Broncos 17
January 22, 2006
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2005 AFC Championship Steelers 34 at Broncos 17

"Come back, I'll get you to the Super Bowl. Just come back, give me one more year." Big Ben delivers a nearly flawless performance (21 of 29, 275 yds, 2 TD, 0 Int and a rushing TD) and makes good on his promise to get Jerome Bettis to the Super Bowl.

The Steelers come out passing just as they had vs. Indy and Roethlisberger leads the offense to points on all 4 of their first-half possessions. Ben is particularly effective on 3rd down, converting 8 of his first 9 third-down throws including a beautiful touch pass to Cedrick Wilson in the right corner of the end zone after freezing Champ Bailey with a pump-fake to give the Steelers a 10-0 lead.

While Roethlisberger is rarely pressured, Jake Plummer is terrorized by Joey Porter and company into 2 fumbles and 2 devastating interceptions. Trailing by two TDs in the shadow of his own goal post just before halftime, a rattled Jake the Snake floats a terrible sideline pass that is easily intercepted by Ike Taylor.

Moments later, Roethlisberger makes perhaps his best throw of the day in which he ducks away from Denver pressure and fires a perfect 17-yd strike that just clears the fingertips of Al Wilson and Nick Ferguson to Hines Ward tucked neatly in the back of the end zone, running the score to 24-3. After the score, a jubilant Big Ben runs to the sideline pretending to fire six-shooters from his hip.

To their credit, Denver keeps fighting and pulls to within 27-17 midway through the 4th quarter, but Roethlisberger ultimately puts it away, sweeping around left end and diving into the end zone on 3rd-and-goal to send the crowd home as a jubilant Jerome Bettis looks into the camera and says, "I'm going home!"


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