Steelers' road to Super Bowl XLV

Posted Jan. 20, 2011 @ 10:47 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Now that the Steelers have reached the eighth Super Bowl in their storied history, PFW takes a look back at how the Pittsburgh ended up in the AFC championship game by looking at its week-by-week results.

Week One
Steelers 15, Falcons 9 (OT)
Rashard Mendenhall's 50-yard TD run in overtime allowed the Steelers to start off the season on the right foot. The Steelers' defense held Atlanta's powerful offense without a touchdown, and the offense, though it didn't reach the endzone until the extra period, did enough in QB Dennis Dixon's second career start.

Week Two
Steelers 19, Titans 11
The defense stepped up in a big way, forcing seven turnovers. Pittsburgh lost Dixon to a knee injury and could get little going on offense, but its ferocious "D" led the way. The Titans did not reach the endzone until the final minute of the game.

Week Three
Steelers 38, Buccaneers 13
This was QB Charlie Batch's shining moment. He completed 12-of-17 passes for 186 yards, throwing TDs of 46 and 41 yards to WR Mike Wallace, as the Steelers routed the Buccaneers. DE Brett Keisel's 79-yard interception return for a touchdown was the highlight on defense.

Week Four
Ravens 17, Steelers 14
In their final start without QB Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers could not hold a fourth-quarter lead as Ravens QB Joe Flacco found T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the game-winning TD in the final minute. The Steelers were held to 210 yards.

Week Six
Steelers 28, Browns 10
Roethlisberger was sharp in his return, completing 16-of-27 passes for 257 yards and three TDs as Pittsburgh pulled away from Cleveland in the second half. ROLB James Harrison knocked WRs Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi out of the game with concussions and drew $75,000 in fines.

Week Seven
Steelers 23, Dolphins 22
The Steelers might have gotten a break in the final minutes. QB Ben Roethlisberger fumbled into the endzone, but officials ruled that they could not determine what team had recovered. The Steelers would get an 18-yard field goal from PK Jeff Reed for the final margin of victory with 2:26 left.

Week Eight
Saints 20, Steelers 10
The Steelers struggled to stop Saints QB Drew Brees, who completed 34-of-44 passes for 305 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh's offense sputtered, scoring just one touchdown and converting just 3-of-10 third downs.

Week Nine
Steelers 27, Bengals 21
The Steelers broke out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead, extended their margin to as many as 20 in the fourth quarter on an Antwaan Randle El-to-Wallace 39-yard TD pass and held off a late comeback attempt from Cincinnati.

Week 10
Patriots 39, Steelers 26
Patriots QB Tom Brady, a longtime Steelers foil, was magnificent in New England's victory, completing 30-of-43 passes for 350 yards with three TDs, all to TE Rob Gronkowski. Roethlisberger threw for 387 yards, but he was sacked five times, and he had an interception returned for a touchdown.

Week 11
Steelers 35, Raiders 3
The Steelers got back to their winning ways in a rout of Oakland. Roethlisberger completed 18-of-29 passes for 275 yards and three TDs. The defense was dominant, sacking Oakland quarterbacks six times and holding Raiders RB Darren McFadden to 14 yards on 10 carries.

Week 12
Steelers 19, Bills 16 (OT)
PK Shaun Suisham connected on four field goals, including the 41-yard game-winner in OT, as Pittsburgh escaped at Buffalo. The Bills would have won in OT if a wide-open WR Stevie Johnson hadn't dropped a pass in the endzone. Roethlisberger suffered a foot injury in the victory.

Week 13
Steelers 13, Ravens 10
In a pivotal win, SS Troy Polamalu came up with the play of the regular season for Pittsburgh, sacking QB Joe Flacco and forcing a fumble that LOLB LaMarr Woodley advanced deep into Baltimore territory. Roethlisberger, playing with the foot injury and a broken nose, did the rest. He threw a TD pass to RB Isaac Redman on the next drive for the game-winning points with 2:51 left.

Week 14
Steelers 23, Bengals 7
Once again, the defense showed the way. Polamalu evened the score in the second quarter with a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown before Woodley gave Pittsburgh a 20-7 lead with 12:21 left on a 14-yard interception return for a TD.

Week 15
Jets 22, Steelers 17
The Steelers fell behind early on a 97-yard kickoff return from the Jets' Brad Smith and were outscored 12-7 after halftime in suffering their final defeat of the regular season. The Jets turned second-half drives of 66 and 50 yards into 10 points and got a key safety from OLB Jason Taylor with 2:38 left. The Steelers drove down into scoring range, but Roethlisberger's final two passes into the endzone fell incomplete.

Week 16
Steelers 27, Panthers 3
The struggling Panthers provided little resistance to Pittsburgh, which outgained Carolina 408-119 in this Thursday-night contest. Roethlisberger threw for 259 yards in the first half as the Steelers built a 20-0 halftime lead. 

Week 17
Steelers 41, Browns 9
Needing a victory to clinch the AFC North, the Steelers wasted little time taking care of business against a divisional foe that had played them fairly tough in the first meeting between the clubs. This time, the Steelers seized control early. Polamalu intercepted QB Colt McCoy on Cleveland's first drive, and on the next play, Roethlisberger hit Wallace for a 56-yard TD pass, the first of four first-half TDs for Pittsburgh, which was never threatened.

Divisional round
Steelers 31, Ravens 24
The Steelers trailed 21-7 at halftime but roared back to defeat the Ravens, their bitter rivals. Pittsburgh scored 17 points off Baltimore turnovers in the second half. With a little more than two minutes left and the game deadlocked at 24, Roethlisberger found WR Antonio Brown streaking behind the defense for a 58-yard gain on 3rd-and-19. Mendenhall would score from two yards out with 1:33 left for the game-winning TD.

AFC championship game
Steelers 24, Jets 19
In a reversal of the divisional-round game, the Steelers dominated the first half then held on for the win despite getting shut out in the second half. Pittsburgh jumped out to a 24-0 lead, highlighted by two TDs in a 47-second span late in the first half, including CB William Gay's 19-yard fumble return for a score. New York's rally fell short, thanks in part to a Steelers goal-line stand. Mendenhall finished with 121 rushing yards, 95 in the first half.