On a night where many in New York were still suffering from the after effects of Hurricane Sandy, there were a lucky few that attended a hard fought battle between the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a sloppy game by both teams but Pittsburgh managed to pull out a big victory, 24-20.
The first quarter was a dud as both teams punted on their first two possessions of the game. New York quarterback Eli Manning made the first mistake of the game when he threw an interception on New York’s third drive, late in the 1st quarter. Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took advantage and led Pittsburgh 58 yards on 11 plays, capped by a four yard touchdown pass to wide out Emmanuel Sanders.
Manning and New York responded on their next drive as they drove 72 yards in only eight plays. Running back Andre Brown plunged in for a one yard touchdown and the score was knotted at 7-7.
It took less than two minutes for the next score. This time it was Roethlisberger’s turn to make a mistake. On 2nd and 5 from the New York 32 yard line, Roethlisberger was robbed of his lunch money when New York defensive end Osi Umenyiora knocked the ball out of the quarterback’s hands. Linebacker Michael Boley picked up the loose ball and ran 70 yards for a touchdown.
After another fruitless Pittsburgh drive was ended by a Jason Pierre-Paul sack, things were beginning to look dire for the Steelers. On New York’s next drive, they were helped by a 46 yard pass interference penalty against Pittsburgh corner back Keenan Lewis. The Pittsburgh defense stiffened and forced New York into a 51 yard field goal attempt. Giants’ kicker Lawrence Tynes was a couple yards short with only 31 ticks left on the clock.
Roethlisberger didn’t need much time as he completed two key passes over 20 yards and led Pittsburgh 47 yards in four plays. Shaun Suisham split the uprights for Pittsburgh and the first half came to a close with New York leading 14-10.
The second half was underway but it felt that the Pittsburgh offense was still in the locker room. The Steelers received the 2nd half kickoff and kick returner Chris Rainey put them in great field position with a 68 yard kick return. Yet, Pittsburgh only could manage to move backwards as Roethlisberger was sacked on 3rd and 7 and they were forced to punt the ball away.
Manning led the Giants down the field again, with some help from running back Ahmad Bradshaw, but Pittsburgh’s defense would hold. After the Giants’ drive stalled, they had to settle for a 50 yard field goal by Tynes.
Trailing 17-10, the Steelers dug themselves into an even deeper hole on their second drive as Roethlisberger’s deep pass to wide out Mike Wallace was intercepted by New York corner back Corey Webster.
After the interception, New York started their drive at the Pittsburgh 33 and marched down the short field, only to be stifled again by the resurgent Pittsburgh defense. Tynes once again marched onto the field and split the uprights to put New York up 20-10.
Pittsburgh may have started off slow but in the 4th quarter all the moving parts started clicking. On a 3rd and 5 at their own 49, Roethlisberger connected with the speedy wide out Mike Wallace on a 51 yard catch and run for a touchdown pulling Pittsburgh within three, 20-17.
After a three and out by New York on their following possession, Pittsburgh return man Emmanuel Sanders returned the ensuing punt 63 yards to the New York 12 yard line. After failing to convert a first down, Pittsburgh was faced with a 4th and 1.
Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin debated going for it but then decided to send out the field goal unit. Instead of attempting the field goal, Tomlin called for a razzle dazzle toss play for Suisham, only to have his kicker stuffed short of the first down.
Manning and New York couldn’t capitalize on the defensive stop and had to punt after another three and out.
Once again, Roethlisberger continued to show why he is a big time quarterback as he led Pittsburgh on a nine play, 51 yard drive. Pittsburgh running back Issac Redman, in the midst of a career day, pounded it in for a touchdown from a yard out, which turned out to be the game winner. Once the clock struck zero, Pittsburgh escaped MetLife Stadium the victory.
It was a tough week for many residents of New York City and the outcome of this game will not help to alleviate the suffering. Mike Tomlin conveyed sentiments we all shared, “This is a game. What happened here is life and reality.” The reality for many New Yorkers is not what they had envisioned and this game surely didn’t help to lift their spirits. Sometimes there is more in life than football and I know for sure that I, Football Nation and football fans around the country have the residents affected by Hurricane Sandy in our thoughts and prayers.
Notes of Notice… Redman set career highs in carries (26) and yards (147).. Roethlisberger struggled early but finished 21 of 30 for 216 yards with 2 TD’s and 1 INT.. Manning had a dismal 1st half (4 of 13 for 60 yards with 1 INT) and didn’t do much better in the 2nd (6 of 11 for 65 yards).. Pittsburgh had 22 first downs compared to New York’s 13. New York was 2 of 10 on 3rd down while Pittsburgh converted 6 of 13.. Tomlin won his 60th game of his career as Pittsburgh has now won three straight.. New York’s lost snapped their four game winning streak.