The boos rained down at Heinz Field on Monday night.
Coming off an ugly road loss, the Pittsburgh Steelers were down by two scores and the season seemed to be heading in the wrong direction.
Then No. 10 caught a touchdown pass to cut the Steelers’ deficit to a field goal and the Steelers took the lead in a matter of seconds with a stunning rally. Heinz Field rocked and the Steelers held on for a win that saved their season.
Hold on a minute. It’s too early to tell whether or not the Steelers’ 30-23 win over the Houston Texans on Monday night saved their season.
That’s right. It is. But we do know that the Steelers’ Week 4 win over the Baltimore Ravens saved their 2008 season. That’s the game we’re talking about.
The Steelers started that season 2-0, then Ben Roethlisberger was sacked eight times in a 15-6 loss at Philadelphia. The following week on Monday Night Football, the Baltimore Ravens led 13-3 with less than five minutes left in the third quarter. With the crowd voicing its displeasure, the Steelers were in danger of falling to .500. Those were the days when .500 was rock-bottom for the Steelers rather than baseline.
A punt seemed imminent on third down when Santonio Holmes, who wore the No. 10 that Martavis Bryant wears now, caught a short pass from Roethlisberger and took it 38 yards for the touchdown to narrow the Ravens’ lead to 13-10.
On the next play, James Harrison sacked Joe Flacco and forced a fumble. LaMarr Woodley picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown and a 17-13 Steelers lead.
The Steelers scored 14 points in 13 seconds. They went on to win 23-20 in overtime and eventually won Super Bowl XLIII that year.
It’s no exaggeration to say that win saved the Steelers’ season. Without it, they wouldn’t have won the AFC North and they wouldn’t have benefited from a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage against the Ravens in the AFC championship game.
Instead of falling to 2-2, the Steelers won three straight to improve to 5-1 and finished 12-4.
Instead of falling to 3-4 in 2014, the Steelers scored 24 points in 2:54 and poked their head above .500.
Just like their outburst six years earlier, the offense provided the ignition and the defense seized the momentum by ripping the ball away from the opponent.
Can Monday’s win over the Texans do what that win over the Ravens did for the 2008 team?