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Flashback: The Wild Card Steelers Once Met a #1 Seeded Manning Team in the Playoffs


The 6th seeded Steelers will have their backs against the walls Sunday when they go to Denver to take on the #1 Broncos and Peyton Manning, in what could be the last hurrah for Manning if the Steelers can best the Broncos.

This isn’t the first time a wild card Steelers team has met a first-seeded Manning led team in the postseason, it happened before, and was one of the most memorable games in Steelers history.

The date was January 15th, 2005 in Indianapolis, when Manning was at the peak of his career and the Colts were a first seed after going 14-2 in the regular season including a win over the Steelers on a Monday night.

The outcome was one of the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history, as the Steelers built a 21-3 lead enroute to a 21-18 win.

Trust me, if you didn’t see the game live, it wasn’t as easy as it sounded. The Steelers nearly lost the game when leading by three in the last minutes, after Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis fumbled and Colts defensive back Nick Harper picked up the ball and raced the other way for what could have been a touchdown.

Instead, Ben Roethlisberger made one of the greatest tackles in history, a play that is known today as ‘The Tackle.’

“It was a unique game. It ranks up there. It was crazy,” Bettis said that day.

Indy still had a chance to tie the game and send it into overtime, but loud mouth kicker Mike Vanderjagt pushed the kick about as wide as any kick one could ever see.

It was a day that Steeler fans won’t soon forget. One fan even had a heart attack after the Bettis fumble (he was okay). Here’s to hoping that the Steelers can repeat the performance and send Manning off into the sunset and advance to the AFC Title Game.

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. Ann

    January 13, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    It was 2006, not 2005.

  2. DrGeorge

    January 14, 2016 at 9:51 am

    The Colts were an outstanding team that year and favored to win the game. Because of their success, they got a bye the week before, which seemed to adversely affect their execution on offense until they finally knocked off the rust in the 4th quarter. After the game, when a reporter called the Steelers “the best team in football,” Cowher replied sheepishly that he wasn’t sure the Steelers were the best, but they were the best when they had to be. I think Cowher, like everyone else, still thought the Colts were the best team in the NFL that year. They just weren’t the best team that day.

    If there is an intended analogy with the upcoming game in Denver, however, it is misguided. The Steelers in that game were not nearly so banged up as the current edition, and we had Bettis and Parker in the backfield. Big difference.

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