Sunday Rewind: Steelers cage upstart Bengals in 2005 AFC Wild Card
Blood in the Water
Thanks to a 30-yard punt by Larson, Roethlisberger and company opened up shop at midfield. Unassumingly, two Parker carries amounted to eight yards. Then, Ken Whisenhunt dialed up something unforeseen.
From the shotgun, Roethlisberger invited Randle El, in the slot, to join him in the backfield. The former University of Indiana quarterback took a direct snap and swept right as Roethlisberger inconspicuously drifted left. The receiver pivoted, heaving the football to the usual signal-caller. Calmly, Roethlisberger found Cedrick Wilson, who had worked his way past every defender in the secondary, for six points.
Statistically the best road defense in the league in 2005, the Steelers began to show why.
Kitna no longer had the edge. Again, he was swarmed and sacked. Less than two minutes into the final quarter, he erroneously flung the football into the arms of Pittsburgh linebacker James Farrior. The pick led to a Jeff Reed field goal little more than two minutes later. In Kitna’s next time out, he threw three incomplete passes in a row, closing a drive in 22 seconds.
In the concluding nine minutes, there was as much drama as the Steelers would have preferred. Roethlisberger and the capable Pittsburgh ground game were able to conduct a pair of possessions that bled the clock, sandwiching a Bengals drive that ended once again with a turnover, this time a Polamalu interception.
It must have been the Terrible Towel.