2002 Steelers 28 vs Colts 10 MNF
This what I call an ass-whipping. True, a Colt is not technically an "ass," but it is same genotype as the donkey and mule. Close enough for me. Maddox starts the game 12 of 15 for 151 yds and 1 TD and the game is, for all intents and purposes, over at halftime at 21-3. I attended this game specifically because because Terry Bradshaw was there for a halftime ceremony. It was Terry's first time on the field in Pittsburgh since his retirment in '83. Unfortunately, Madden & Michaels make absolutely NO mention of Bradshaw's presence during the game, and there is no coverage of the event.
2004 Steelers 13 at Dolphins 3
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.
2004 Steelers 34 vs Browns 23
Rookie of the year Ben Roethlisberger, becoming more comfortable and productive with each start, confuses Cleveland with his running and creativity as the Steelers win their 3rd in a row. The first classic Big Ben moment comes when Roethlisberger scrambles to his right to elude the rush and gets leveled by Orpheus Roye, but still finds Plaxico Burress deep downfield for 51 yards to the Cleveland 9. Two plays later, un-rattled by the hit, Big Ben powers up the middle for a 6-yard TD run. Ben's mobility also sets up a 37-yard bomb to Burress that makes it 24-10 midway through the 3rd quarter. Roethlisberger rolls out of the pocket, freezing the defense and allowing Burress to slip five yards behind Cleveland DB's for an unguarded touchdown. Burress makes 6 catches for 136 yards and Duce Staley compliments Roethlisberger's performance (16 of 21 for 231 yards, 1 TD pass, 1 TD run) by scoring on a 25-yard run on Pittsburgh's 3rd offensive play and gaining 117 yards on 21 carries, his 3rd consecutive 100-yard game. Meanwhile, Bettis scores his 6th TD of season.
2004 Steelers 34 vs Patriots 20
Big Ben wins NFL Rookie of the Week honors for 5th straight week and ends Patriots winning streak. The Patriots (6-1) come into the game having won 21 straight (counting the playoffs) and a league-record 18 in a row in the regular season, but they 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!
2004 Steelers 27 vs Eagles 3
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.
2004 Steelers 33 at Giants 30
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.