|The following is a list of newly discovered games, new acquisitions, and upgrades. To view my COMPLETE list of games, CLICK HERE.|
'04 Pittsburgh vs. Oakland (24-21): Condition EX++: The Steelers return to their roots -- a strong running game and creative pressure defense -- to open an early two-touchdown lead, then hold off the Raiders to win 24-21 on Jeff Reed's 42-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining. Bettis scores 3 TDs on 5 carries for just 1 yard!
'04 Pittsburgh at Baltimore (13-30): Condition EX++: Big Ben's first NFL action (subbing for injured Maddox). Maddox goes 4-for-13 for 67 yards before being forced out in the third quarter with an elbow injury. He is replaced by first-round draft pick Ben Roethlisberger, who throws 4th-quarter TD passes to Randle el and Ward. Unfortunately, those scores come after the Steelers are in a 20-0 hole.
'04 Pittsburgh at Dolphins (13-3): Condition EX++: Roethlisberger's first NFL start! Game is played in a torrential downpour (and was actually postponed) due to the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne. The Steelers force four turnovers, make a key fourth-down stop and beat the hapless Fish 13-3. Roethlisberger wins NFL Rookie of the Week honors for his performance. Duce Staley gains 101 yds on 22 carries.
'04 Pittsburgh vs. Bengals (28-17): Condition EX++: Big Ben wins NFL Rookie of the Week honors for 2nd straight week! Roethlisberger, showing uncommon poise for a rookie who wasn't expected to play this season, twice rallies the Steelers (3-1) and Duce Staley runs for 123 yards in a 28-17 victory. Roethlisberger finishes 17-of-25 for 174 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. Staley gains 123 yards on 25 carries, and Bettis scores 2 TDs!
'04 Pittsburgh vs. Browns (34-23): Condition EX++: Big Ben (16-for-21 for 231 yards, a touchdown pass and a TD run) wins NFL Rookie of the Week honors for 3rd straight week! Roethlisberger, becoming more comfortable and more productive with each start, confuses Cleveland with his running and creativity and the Steelers win their third in a row behind the rookie QB! One memorable play comes with the score tied at 7: Roethlisberger scrambles to elude Ebenezer Ekuban, then gets flattened by Orpheus Roye's hit, yet still finds Plaxico Burress for 51 yards to the Cleveland 9. A play later, Roethlisberger, apparently not rattled by the hit, powers up the middle on a 6-yard TD run -- matching the number of scoring runs the less-mobile Maddox has in 33 games with Pittsburgh. The threat Roethlisberger created by his running also leads to his 37-yard scoring pass to Burress that makes it 24-10 midway through the third. Roethlisberger rolls out of the pocket, momentarily freezing the defense and allowing Burress to slip five yards behind cornerback Anthony Henry for an unguarded touchdown. Burress makes 6 catches for 136 yards, and Duce Staley complements Roethlisberger by scoring on a 25-yard run while gaining 117 yards on 21 carries, his third consecutive 100-yard game. Bettis scores his 6th TD of season.
'04 Pittsburgh at Dallas (24-20): Condition EX++: Big Ben wins NFL Rookie of the Week honors for 4th straight week, completing 21 of 25 passes with 2 TDs. The Cowboys lead 20-10 early in the 4th quarter, but Ben completes nine straight throws on the Steelers' last two scoring drives (11 in a row total), leading Pittsburgh to a 24-20 comeback win. But while it's the rookie that leads the way, it's a timely Dallas fumble and a short TD from a Steelers old-timer (Bettis) that provides Pittsburgh with the winning points. The Cowboys have the ball on the Steelers 47, facing third down with a 20-17 lead with under 3 minutes left. When Testaverde drops back to pass, James Farrior (who had two sacks and caused two other fumbles earlier in the game), crashes through the line to knock the ball loose yet again. Kimo von Oelhoffen scoops it up and runs to the Dallas 24 to set up Jerome Bettis' TD rumble with just 30 seconds left.
'04 Pittsburgh vs. Patriots (34-20): Condition EX++: Big Ben wins NFL Rookie of the Week honors for 5th straight week and ends Patriots winning streak! The Patriots (6-1) had won 21 straight counting the playoffs and a league-record 18 in a row in the regular season, but are all but out of this one after Roethlisberger throws two TD passes to Plaxico Burress (including a picture-perfect 47-yard bomb) during a 21-point Steelers first quarter. This was supposed to be the game that exposed Roethlisberger as a rookie -- taking on New England's defensive mastermind, coach Bill Belichick, and the Patriots' unpredictable defenses. Instead, Roethlisberger runs his own winning streak to 18 -- his last 13 games at Miami of Ohio and his first five in the NFL. Joey Porter has a HUGE game, recording 3 sacks and forcing 2 fumbles, and Deshea Townsend has 39-yard interception return for a TD. Duce Staley gains 125 yards on 25 carries, and the Bus runs 15 times for 65 yards and a TD. A complete team effort!
'04 Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia (27-3): Condition EX++: Big Ben wins NFL Rookie of the Week honors for 6th straight week as the Steelers blow out the previously undefeated Eagles! Roethlisberger drives the Steelers to a 21-0 lead on their first 3 possessions with the help of Bettis' 149 yards, his 55th career 100-yard game. Ward scores on the first two drives, a 16-yard reverse and a 20-yard reception, then mocks Eagles receiver Terrell Owens by flapping his arms Owens-like in the end zone both times. Owens finishes with a season-low 53 yards receiving. A week after outrushing New England 221-5, the Steelers outrun the Eagles 252-23 and outgain them 420-111. Pittsburgh becomes the only team in NFL history to stop unbeaten teams in consecutive weeks after each had won at least six games.
'04 Pittsburgh at Cleveland (24-10): Condition EX++: Unfazed by Gerard Warren's pregame threats (or anything Cleveland's defense throws at him), Roethlisberger becomes the first rookie quarterback to begin 7-0! During pregame warmups, Joey Porter punches Browns running back William Green, bloodying his lower lip during their fight. Both are ejected before the opening kickoff. Bettis, starting in place of the injured Duce Staley, gains 103 yards on 29 carries and scores 2 TDs. Ben isn't spectacular, just very efficient. Ben also rushes for 41 yards as he smartly avoids pressure by running the few times the Browns are able to get him in any trouble. Meanwhile, Browns QB Jeff Garcia is under siege almost every time he drops backgoing only 7 for 16 for 110 yards while being sacked 4 times and throwing an interception.
'04 Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (19-14): Condition EX++: Bettis runs for 129 yards and the Steelers' blitzing defense creates havoc, keeping the NFL's longest winning streak growing. Roethlisberger finishes 15 of 21 and throws the game-winning TD, but also loses 54 yards on 7 sacks as the Bengals come at him from all sides. In spite of his uncharacteristically shaky play, Ben wins his 7th NFL Rookie of the Week award for his efforts. Linebacker James Farrior has a 14-yard interception return to blunt the Bengals' momentum in the first half, and in the second half, Cinci's offense manages only 42 yards and two first downs. The clinching play comes with 2:38 left and Carson Palmer under heavy pressure in his end zone. He throws the ball away, drawing a grounding call and a safety, after which fans toss beer bottles onto the field in disgust.
'04 Pittsburgh vs. Washington (16-7): Condition EX++: Randle El scampers through the Redskins' coverage team on punt returns of 60 and 43 yards to set up two first-half scores -- Bettis' 4-yard touchdown run, his 11th of the season, and the first of Jeff Reed 's three field goals on a blustery day. Bettis starts when Duce Staley unexpectedly sits out a fourth straight game with a sore hamstring, and responds with 100 yards on 31 carries. His 47th career 100-yard game matches Franco Harris' team record. The Steelers are 10-1 for the first time since 1975, the second of their four Super Bowl championship seasons.
'04 Pittsburgh at Jacksonville (17-16): Condition EX++: Rookie of the Week Roethlisberger finishes 14 of 17 for 221 yards, 2 TDs and a passer rating of 158.0 (just three-tenths of a point from perfection), rushes for 40 yards and engineers a late Elway-esque drive to set up a 37-yard field goal by Jeff Reed with 18 seconds left for the win. Ben goes 3 of 4 for 39 yards on the winning drive, the only incompletion coming on a spike after he calmly lets the clock run down to avoid giving the Jaguars much time for a march of their own. Jacksonville has one last shot after a 19-yard completion from Byron Leftwich to Jimmy Smith, giving them a shot at a 60-yard field goal, which falls just short and wide right.
'04 Pittsburgh vs. N.Y. Jets (16-7): Condition EX++: I attended the game with Tommy Coleman and Mike Terry! Bettis flips a 10-yard TD pass to Tuman 3 plays after surpassing the 13,000-yard rushing mark early in the fourth quarter, then seals the game on his 12th TD run of the season late in a decisive 14-point fourth quarter. Bettis' toss --his third career TD pass in 6 tries -- comes on third-and-3. He rolls to his right after taking a handoff from Roethlisberger and casually tosses the ball to a wide-open Tuman. Meanwhile, Chad Pennington is intercepted three times (Polamalu, Farrior and Hope).
'04 Pittsburgh at N.Y. Giants (33-30): Condition EX++: The main thing separating rookie QBs Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning in this one is that Ben made his biggest plays with the game on the line. Roethlisberger throws for a season-high 316 yards and hits four straight passes to set up Jerome Bettis' game-winning 1-yard run with 4:57 to go, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 33-30 win over the Giants. Manning has the best game of his young career, completing 16 of 23 for 182 yards. But Roethlisberger hits five passes of 34 or more yards in a much-hyped matchup with Manning, who only has one over 20 yards and throws a devastating INT on New York's final drive to end the Giants' hopes.
'04 Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore (20-7): Condition EX++: I attended this game! Still-unbeaten Ben Roethlisberger throws 2 TD passes in a run-heavy offense before being pulled from a 20-7 Steelers victory with a rib injury caused by a blindside cheap shot by Terrell Suggs on a scoring pass. Ben finishes the game 14 of 19 for 221 yards, 2 TDs and 1 Int. Bettis runs for 117 yards in his 6th 100-yard game this season, and moves past Eric Dickerson on the NFL career rushing list. Burress returns from a 4-week layoff with a sore hamstring and makes an immediate impact with 3 catches for 97 yards, including a 36-yard TD pass from Ben as Pittsburgh drives 80 yards in 5 plays on its opening possession. Jamal Lewis is held to 26 yards on 14 carries.
'04 Pittsburgh at Buffalo (29-24): Condition EX++: Willie Parker, Brian St. Pierre and James Harrison -- who are these guys, you might ask? They represent the collection of backups who keep the Steelers' roll going and end the Bills' playoff hopes! Parker, an undrafted rookie free agent, has 102 yards rushing, including a 58-yarder that sets up Jeff Reed 's 37-year field goal, Pittsburgh's go-ahead score. And then there is Harrison, the backup linebacker, who returns a fumble 18 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory. The Steelers go without Ben Roethlisberger, Jerome Bettis or a host of other starters, but still win their 14th straight to match the single-season record set by Miami in 1972. The Steelers also become just the fourth team in NFL history -- and first in the AFC -- to finish 15-1.