Sunday Rewind: Steelers cage upstart Bengals in 2005 AFC Wild Card
The Road to (and Past) Detroit
The follow-up to this contest is pretty well known.
The six-seed Steelers would visit Indianapolis and Peyton Manning’s RCA Dome the next week, pulling out a 21-18 victory over the 14-2 Colts, thanks in part to Roethlisberger’s shoestring tackle on Nick Harper. In the AFC Championship Game, Pittsburgh would put away Jake Plummer’s Denver Broncos.
Jerome Bettis got his storybook ending and Roethlisberger fulfilled his promise when the Steelers grounded the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.
As for Palmer, he would recover from his career-threating injury and have a statistically similar year in 2006. He made the Pro Bowl and was named as the all-star game’s MVP. In 2009, despite struggles, he would sweep the AFC North en route to another appearance in the playoffs (another loss, to Rex Ryan’s New York Jets.)
He threatened retirement rather than playing in Cincy after the 2010 season and was traded to Oakland. In 2015, as an Arizona Cardinal, he advanced to the NFC Championship game and was later named as a second-team All-Pro.
Today, Roethlisberger is the only active player from that contest. The quarterback, now 38 years old, has played more games in a Steelers uniform than anybody ever. This Sunday, he and his team of 17 seasons will entertain the 2-10 Bengals, whose Heisman-winning, first-overall draft choice, who also wears No. 9, is shelved with a torn left ACL and MCL.
This week’s clash with the Bengals may not mean as much as it has in the past. The 2005 AFC Wild Card only added to Cincinnati’s disdain for the Steelers.