The 2017 Season will be Mike Tomlin’s 11th as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. With his decade at the helm, he is currently the fifth-longest tenured coach in the NFL. Only Bill Belichick, Marvin Lewis, Mike McCarthy, and Sean Payton have been in their respective positions longer than Tomlin. As we count down the days until the start of Training Camp and the start of the 2017 season, we’re taking a look back at Mike Tomlin’s 10-year tenure as Steelers head coach. The “Ten For Tomlin” series will be 10 posts each featuring 10 items from the past decade. Previously, we looked at some of Tomlin’s key statistics. Today we take a look back at some of the best games of the last decade.
Steelers 13, Ravens 10 (2010) – Isaac Redman spins through 9 Ravens to score a late touchdown.
Steelers 26, Jaguars 21 (2008) – Coming off a playoff loss to Jacksonville, the Steelers got revenge in Jacksonville on Monday Night.
Steelers 25, Patriots 17 (2011) – The lone defeat of Tom Brady in the Mike Tomlin era, and the game in which LaMarr Woodley was injured, forever altering his career.
Steelers 30, Texans 23 (2014) – The Lawrence Timmons “puke and rally” game.
Cowboys 35, Steelers 30 (2016) – The Steelers lost on Ezekiel Elliot’s late touchdown, but this was a back-and-forth contest between two very good teams that was one of the best games of the entire NFL season.
10. Steelers 38, Ravens 7
November 5, 2007
The Ravens had won the division and swept the Steelers in 2006. While most of the games on this list were close games, there is something intensely gratifying about kicking the absolute snot out of your bitter rivals. This is what the Steelers did on a Monday night, with one of the most memorable plays being James Harrison absolutely decking Ed Reed on a punt return and forcing a fumble that flew about 20 feet in the air. This was Harrison’s coming out party as he tallied 3 1/2 sacks, forced 3 fumbles and had an interception. Ben threw 5 TDs on just 16 attempts with Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington coming down with two each.
9. Steelers 24, Jets 19
2010 AFC Championship Game
The Bart Scott “Can’t Wait” game. The Steelers ran out to an early lead thanks to a dominant performance by Rashard Mendenhall on the ground. The Jets couldn’t get anything going and the Steelers held a 17-0 lead at the two minute warning. A Lamarr Woodley sack set up a third and long where Ike Taylor came off the corner and sacked Sanchez. William Gay scooped it up and took it back 19 yards for the score. The Jets would get a field goal before halftime to cut the lead to 24-3. They would take that small bit of momentum into the second half with Sanchez connecting to Santonio Holmes on a bomb down the seam to cut the lead to 24-10. The Steelers offense suddenly went into a shell as Ben threw a pick then was sacked twice on the following drive. With under 8 minutes to go in the game the Steelers defense stuffed the Jets on the goal line but Ben was sacked on the following play for a safety. Sanchez drove the Jets back down the field and hit future Steeler Jerricho Cotchery for a score to cut the lead to 24-19. The offense was able to close it out from there with Ben completing passes to Heath Miller and Antonio Brown to burn the Jets remaining timeouts and hit the victory formation.
8. Steelers 34, Broncos 27
December 20, 2015
The Steelers knocked off the eventual Super Bowl Champions in dramatic fashion at Heinz Field. With Peyton Manning injured, Brock Osweiler led the Broncos to a 27-13 halftime lead after 4 straight touchdown drives. The Broncos had not allowed an opponent to break 30 points in 15 straight games, dating back to December of 2014. The Steelers came out on fire in the second half as Ben torched the Broncos vaunted secondary, throwing two touchdowns (including the game winner) to Antonio Brown and another to Markus Wheaton. The defense did their job and shut out Denver in the second half, holding them to 72 total yards and just 3 first downs.
7. Steelers 20, Cowboys 13
December 7, 2008
Everyone remembers this as the DeShea Townsend Pick-Six game. What people forget is that Tony Romo and the Cowboys were absolutely rolling at this point and Romo had not thrown a fourth quarter interception all season. Mistakes dominated the first half as Jeff Reed missed a field goal and both Ben and Heath Miller fumbled while the Cowboys failed to convert two 4th and short opportunities. Ike Taylor ended the field position battle with an interception of Romo that set up the Steelers to get on the board with a field goal. Dallas responded with a field goal before halftime. The Cowboys would own the third quarter as Terrell Owens climbed the ladder and came down with a heave from Romo that looked way over his head for the game’s first touchdown. Dallas added another field goal and took a 13-3 lead into the fourth quarter. The Steelers got it to the doorstep early in the quarter but were denied on both third and fourth down. Jeff Reed was able to knock through a field goal with 7 minutes to go. After the defense got a stop, Ben hit Nate Washington three times to move us inside the 10 then found Heath Miller in the flat for the game-tying score. With two minutes left, Tomlin decided to use his timeouts and famously said, “We’re going to stop them and we’re going to score.” The scoreboard blasted Renegade after the next kickoff and DeShea Townsend stepped in front of a Romo pass and took it back to the house for the win.
6. Steelers 13, Ravens 9
December 14, 2008
The Santonio Holmes Goal-line Catch Game. A week after DeShea demoralized Dallas, the Steelers headed to Baltimore with the Division Title on the line. In another hard-faught defensive battle, the teams traded field goals in the first half as neither could break through. Baltimore got out to a 9-3 lead in the third quarter which the Steelers cut to 9-6 thanks to a Jeff Reed field goal with 10 minutes to go. The Ravens drove back into field goal range but a Lawrence Timmons sack on third down knocked them out. Ben got the ball back with 3:36 to go and 92 yards between him and the division title. Against one of the best defenses he ever faced, Ben worked the ball down the field hitting Hines Ward twice and Nate Washington twice to get across midfield at the two minute warning. Ben was able to find Nate Washington again on a deep pass to get into the red zone then found Hines in the flat to get us down to the 4. Two plays later, Ben rolled out to his left again to buy time, scrambled back to his right then threw back across his body and found Santonio Holmes who made a diving catch right at the goal line. It was ruled a touchdown and upheld upon review. The Ravens had a last gasp with 40 seconds left but William Gay intercepted Flacco and sealed the Division Title for the Steelers.
5. Steelers 37, Packers 36
December 20, 2009
The Mike Wallace Walk-Off Game. Due to an injury to Troy Polamalu, the Steelers defense struggled mightily on the back end in 2009. Tyrone Carter was forced to play the starting role and the Steelers were not able to stop anybody, losing 5 straight games before this meeting with the Packers. Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger went toe-to-toe, combining for 886 yards, 6 TDs and no interceptions. Ben started the game by torching the Packers defense to the tune of a 60-yarder to Mike Wallace down the middle. Rodgers responded with an 83-yarder to Greg Jennings and from there the race was on. The Steelers held a 21-14 halftime lead that they stretched to 24-14 in the third quarter. The Packers stormed back, trading touchdowns for field goals, and took a 28-27 lead that the Steelers go back with Jeff Reed’s fourth field goal to make it 30-28 with 4 minutes to go. Rodgers drove the Packers back down the field and hit James Jones for a touchdown on 3rd and 14 then converted a 2-point try to take a 36-30 lead. Ben got the ball back with two minutes left and was able to overcome a sack and convert a 4th down with a deep pass to Santonio Holmes. An illegal contact penalty on the Packers overturned what would have been a game-ending interception. Ben took advantage, hitting Heath over the middle twice to get the ball into the red zone. On the final snap of the game, Ben rolled out and was able to find Mike Wallace who dragged his toes on the sideline and complete the catch to tie the game. Jeff Reed booted the game winning extra point with no time left on the clock.
4. Steelers 31, Ravens 27
December 25, 2016
The Immaculate Extension Game. The AFC North Division Title was on the line on Christmas Day. The teams slogged through a 7-6 first half before an explosive second half. Ben Roethlisberger threw two third quarter interceptions and the Steelers fell behind 20-10 early in the fourth. Ben led them back and Le’Veon Bell cashed in twice to put the Steelers back in front 24-20 with just over 7 minutes to play. Baltimore drove back down the field and scored a go-ahead touchdown with just over a minute to play. Ben came back and picked the Ravens defense apart, spreading the ball around to 5 different receivers to get the Steelers inside the 5 with 13 seconds left. On the next play, Ben hit Antonio Brown on a shallow cross and after being stacked up by 3 Ravens defenders, Brown was able to surge and extend the ball across the goalline for the game-winning touchdown.
3. Steelers 31, Ravens 24
2010 AFC Divisional Game
The Antonio Brown Helmet Catch Game. The Ravens were still smarting from Isaac Redman spinning through the teeth of their defense to deny them the division title. After the Steelers opened with an 80-yard drive culminating in a Rashard Mendenhall touchdown, the Ravens dominated the rest of the first half. The Ravens took a 14-7 lead on a bizarre touchdown where nearly everyone on the field thought it was an incomplete pass but the officials never blew the whistles and the Ravens ran it in for a touchdown. Upon review it was upheld as a fumble and touchdown. The Ravens extended their lead to 21-7 and Shaun Suisham missed a field goal before halftime. After the half, the defense came out on fire as James Harrison sacked Flacco on the first play then Ryan Clark forced Ray Rice to fumble. Ben hit Heath two plays later to get back within a score. Another Harrison sack ended the next drive then a Ryan Clark interception on the following Ravens possession set up Hines Ward’s game-tying touchdown. Shaun Suisham gave the Steelers a 24-21 lead early in the fourth and we dodged a bullet when Lardarius Webb’s punt return touchdown was called back on a holding penalty. The Ravens did use the field position to kick a field goal and tie the game. Ben got the ball back with just under 4 minutes to play but things looked dire after a sack set up a 3rd and 19. Ben hit little-known (at the time) rookie Antonio Brown on a deep seam route who iconically pinned the ball against his helmet to secure the catch and set the Steelers up inside the 5. Rashard Mendenhall cashed it in and gave the Steelers the victory.
2. Steelers 23, Ravens 14
2008 AFC Championship Game
The Troy Polamalu Interception Game. Beating the Ravens is always great. Beating the Ravens to go to the Super Bowl is even better. After Santonio Holmes sealed the Division for the Steelers, they exorcised their playoff demons against San Diego in the Divisional round. Baltimore beat AFC East Champion Miami (this was the year Brady was injured) then top-seeded Tennessee to set up a rematch in the AFC Championship. The Steelers got off to an early lead thanks to two Jeff Reed field goals, the second of which was thanks to a DeShea Townsend interception. At the start of the second quarter, Ben scrambled away from pressure and found Santonio Holmes deep down the right side of the field. He stuck the ball right over a defender’s outstretched hand and Santonio was able to take it and cut all the way back across the field and go 65 yards for a touchdown. The Ravens got a good punt return that they were able to turn into a touchdown to send the game to halftime at 13-7. The Steelers probably could have added more points before the half if Limas Sweed had either caught a pass when he was wide open or not pretended to be injured and cost the Steelers a timeout. Jeff Reed extended the lead to 16-7 with a third quarter field goal. The Ravens were able to take advantage of a bad punt and a defensive pass interference penalty to cash in Willis McGahee’s second touchdown and cut the lead to 16-14. Times were tense when the Steelers went 3-and-out and Baltimore got the ball back with 7 minutes to play. But the defense would step up. After a Lamarr Woodley sack forced a third and long, Troy Polamalu stepped in front of a pass then cut back across the field, his long hair flying like a cape as he bobbed and wove between Ravens players and carried the ball across the goal line. That effectively sealed the game but the Ravens had time on the clock. To add injury to insult, Ryan Clark laid one of the hardest hits in Heinz Field history on Willis McGahee, knocking him into the next decade.
1. Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
Super Bowl XLIII
The James Harrison Pick-Six and Santonio Holmes Toe Tap Game. Of course this game had to top the list. Not only was it the best Steelers game of the last decade, it was arguably the best Super Bowl in history. The Steelers got to the doorstep but weren’t able to cash in on their first drive, settling for a field goal. They did convert the next time around as Gary Russell plowed in for to score to make it 10-0. Arizona came right back as Anquan Boldin double-crossed Bryant McFadden and took a pass all the way down to the 1. Arizona scored on the next play, then after an exchange of punts, Ben threw an interception with just over 2 minutes left. The Cardinals got it all the way down to the 1 with 20 seconds to go. Warner dropped to pass and never saw James Harrison dropping into coverage. Harrison stepped right in front of Anquan Boldin and snagged the interception then took off down the sideline. He bounded over people and got a convoy of blockers that took him all the way down the field before Larry Fitzgerald caught him from behind and rolled him into the end zone. Upon review, Harrison crossed the goal line before his knee hit and it became the longest interception return in Super Bowl history.
The Steelers extended their lead to 20-7 in the third quarter and things looked promising. Arizona was able to drive down the field and Warner found Fitz on a jump ball over Ike Taylor with 7:41 to go to cut the lead to 20-14. After an exchange of punts, the Steelers were backed up against their own goalline and Justin Hartwig got called for holding in the end zone, which is a safety and thinned the lead to 20-16. The lead would evaporate two plays later when Warner hit Fitz on a short slant route that he turned upfield and burned right through the middle of the Steelers defense to go 64 yards for the score. After blowing a 13-point lead in 5 minutes, Ben found himself with 2:30 and 88 yards to go (after a Chris Kemoeatu penalty). Ben worked it to Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington, moving the ball down the field and into the red zone on a 40-yard catch and scamper by Holmes. Ben missed Holmes in the back of the end zone on first down. On second down, he took the snap, stepped away from pressure and slung one to the back corner of the end zone that somehow threaded the needle between 3 Cardinals defenders and right into Holmes’ outstretched hands. Santonio was able to tap both his toes on the sideline before falling out of bounds to give the Steelers the lead with 30 seconds left. Arizona was able to get back across midfield but LaMarr Woodley turned the corner and strip-sacked Warner as he was preparing to heave a Hail Mary. Brett Keisel recovered to seal the sixth Super Bowl in Steelers history.
ORG XMIT: PAGP112 Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, right, catches a touchdown pass from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in front of Green Bay Packers’ Josh Bell (26) with time running out in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 37-36. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar)