After three quarters of boring football dominated by Pittsburgh and penalties, the Arizona Cardinals hit their stride in the fourth quarter and gave the Steelers an amazing scare. But Pittsburgh emerged victorious after an amazing Santonio Holmes touchdown catch with under a minute left, winning 27-23.
This is the record-breaking sixth Super Bowl championship for the Steelers, who picked up four titles in the seventies, and one earlier this decade.
For most of the game, the Steelers dominated. The Cardinals' vaunted passing offense was held in check, only making 12 completions between all three wide receivers. Every time the Cardinals started to drive, a dumb mistake would stifle them. The worst example of this -- and the most amazing play of an amazing game -- was when James Harrison picked off a Kurt Warner pass in the end zone and returned it 101 yards for a touchdown to end the first half.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Steelers were winning 20-7, and appeared to have the game well in hand. Then Pittsburgh went three-and-out and Arizona took advantage, scoring on a Warner connection to Larry Fitzgerald. That put the score at 20-14 with most of the fourth quarter still ahead of them. Then, with the Steelers backed up into their end zone, Justin Hartwig was called for a hold and a safety was awarded. 20-16, Steelers.
With less than three minutes in the game, Warner completed a pass to Anquan Boldin who ran it 64 yards for a touchdown. The point-after put the Cardinals up for the first time in the game, 23-20 but the Steelers answered immediately with a beautiful touchdown pass to game MVP Santonio Holmes, putting up the Steelers up for good. Holmes finished the game with nine catches for 131 yards.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who won his second Super Bowl ring, completed 21 passes for 256 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Big Ben was an amazing mix of lumbering and elusive all night long.
This game was about big plays and devastating penalties. The Steelers gave up a safety because of a penalty, but the Cardinals took the worst of the yellow flags, giving up 106 yards through 11 penalties.
Arizona's fourth-quarter run was impressive, but futile, mostly because of their lack of a running game. Their best runners, Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower, were limited to just 33 yards on the ground. All the pressure to win was put on Warner's arm and Fitzgerald's hands, and they came up just a little bit short.