Roethlisberger's Game Saving Tackle
A heroic tackle by their quarterback probably wasn’t how the Steelers envisioned their run to a Super Bowl being saved. But that’s exactly what happened on the afternoon of January 15, 2006, in the Steelers’ AFC Divisional playoff game at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. The Steelers, who’d won their wild-card contest the previous week for the right to play the league’s best regular season team, the 14-2 Colts, were on the verge of an upset: ahead 21-18 with 1:20 left, Pittsburgh had the ball on a first-and-goal at the Colts’ 2. QB Ben Roethlisberger handed the ball off to Jerome Bettis, the 252-pound Hall of Fame running back with 91 career rushing touchdowns and who hadn’t fumbled all year. Bettis was hit at the line of scrimmage and the ball popped out of his grasp, rolled around a bit and then was scooped up by defensive back Nick Harper, who ran the other way. At the Colts’ 35, the 6-foot-5 Roethlisberger stood between Harper, the end zone, and a Steeler loss. Harper faked the Pittsburgh QB out, but with a desperate dive Roethlisberger tripped Harper up by the shoe at the Colts’ 42. The Colts could not take advantage, as Mike Vanderjagt later missed a game-tying 46 yard FG. The Steelers would win the game and their next two to capture the Super Bowl.