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When They Needed it Most, Polamalu Makes the Play of the Year

It was the play of the year for the Steelers, and came at a time when they needed it most.

Safety Troy Polamalu slammed into Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco late in the fourth quarter, exploding untouched across the line to cause a fumble that was eventually picked up by LaMarr Woodley, setting up the game-winning score three plays later when Ben Roethlisberger hit Issac Redman with a short pass that Redman took across the goal-line for the score that made it 13-10.

But the play that set up that score was the one that will live in the memory for Steeler fans, as it was the long-haired Polamalu at his finest, throwing his body at Flacco and causing the fumble that saved the Steelers season.

“It was actually a run pressure, we anticipated them to maybe run the football, and we were trying to drop them for a loss, get them off schedule, you know, keep them off schedule,” Mike Tomlin said of the play. “Troy’s [Polamalu] a great player, 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 endzone, but our offense finished the job for us.”

And that they did, but it looked downright gloomy before the forced fumble by Polamalu. The Ravens had reached their 43 after a short run, an 8-yard pass interference penalty on the Steelers, and a five-yard run by Ray Rice.

It looked like the Ravens were ready to put the game away, ready to take home a 10-6 win and complete control of the division. That’s before Polamalu changed all that.

“The coaches made a great call. I was surprised they were passing in that situation. It was all coached football,” Polamalu said.

It was a play that impressed both sides of the ball for the Steelers. Standing on the sidelines waiting for a chance to win the game, the offense was hoping for a shot, and they got it with Polamalu’s huge hit and strip.

“That’s what Troy does. 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,” Rashard Mendenhall said. “We were able to get the ball on the 10-yard line, and we had to put points on the board at that point.”

And they did. It took a couple heart stopping plays, but eventually they got the score they had been waiting for all day. But it couldn’t have come unless the teams wild man made the play that could go down as the biggest on the way to playing football well into January.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. George H

    December 6, 2010 at 11:00 am

    A very significant win for the Steelers. No one can doubt Ben’s toughness playing with a broken nose and foot. It was a very hard fought battle with Baltimore and like everyone thought, the team that made the play late would win the game.

    The Good:

    1.) Big Ben stayed strong and showed hes the team leader. Its very significant because throughout the year the media had been making assumptions that Ben lost the locker room. Also to all of those who wanted Ben traded do you still feel the same way?

    2.) Young receivers making plays: Its easy to say Wallace is a stud and seeing his progression as not just a deep threat but as a potential legit number one is truly a thing of beauty. Moreover, it was a good sign seeing Saunders and Brown step up and make plays in a game that Hines didnt do much receiving.

    • George H

      December 6, 2010 at 11:14 am

      I had more but didnt get posted for some reason… Bad was McFadden and Penalties not being called.

  2. Jeff

    December 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

    As Tomlin has said in the past…#43 sees the game a bit different as it’s playing out and has a special knack for knowing the right time to go for the game changing play. This guy is so special and how many games has he pretty much won for us now?

  3. Jay

    December 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I know i’ve said some things on here that have been borderline preposterous but I am the first to admit that about 60-70% of that stuff is in the heat of the moment impulsive anger coming out. I also know that, now after having a whole day to let it sink in, if you’re starting a team and would have any other QB besides BB, then you would need your head examined. He’s the only QB in the league (with the possible exception of Vick) who actually doesn’t get worse and even, at times, gets better the more he is hit, beat up, hammered, etc., etc. There’s a marvel universe character called the Hulk who gets stronger as he gets angrier! That’s kind of like BB…Unbelievable heart and courage and tenacity… I hope Mike Tomlin finds a way to keep his players/team focused one game at a time the rest of the way and maybe even play the underdog, us against the world card in the locker room. This team seems to adopt that chip on the shouilder mentality.

    • Jay

      December 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm

      Oh an addendum to myself…What the &%$#@# you cocksucking officials for not throwing fucking flags when Ben is hit, nose broken adn Heath Miller is almost decapitated…you fucking worthless, asshole referress I hope there’s one reading this blog right now you are a bunch of automoton cocksucking, homos who are better off cleaning toilets with yellow gloves than you are having any business officiating a game with yellow flags…go collectively fuck yourselves you sycophantic plebian scumbags I hope you all die and we replace you with people who have integrity!!!! And then have a nice day of course and God bless!

      • Andreat

        December 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm

        Um….I had to google sycophantic…

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