Steelers Hold Off Jets’ Rally For 24-19 Win, AFC Title & Trip To Dallas

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – The Steelers are Super Bowl bound once again after jumping out to a big lead before halftime and holding off a furious second half comeback attempt by the New York Jets.

After a week of build up, excitement hit a fevered pitch Sunday across Pittsburgh and the showdown over on the North Shore didn’t disappoint.

The Steelers headed into halftime with a big 24-3 lead and managed to hold off the Jets as they tried to overcome the deficit. The final score: 24-19.

This ending is a much happier one for Steelers Nation than when the two teams met in Week 15 and the Jets came out on top 22-17.

Now, the Steelers have earned a one-way ticket to Dallas, and for the third time in six seasons, Terrible Towels will twirl at the Super Bowl.

Ben Roethlisberger saved his best pass for last. Big Ben tiptoed around the backfield, hurried by Jets defenders on a third-and-6 from the New York 40.

The quarterback rolled right and hit Antonio Brown for a 14-yard gain with less than two minutes left to seal the victory and win the AFC title.

It held off what could have been a remarkable comeback by the Jets from a 21-point halftime deficit.

Three kneel-downs after Roethlisberger’s big play, the quarterback raised an arm in the air and got mobbed by teammates.

He finished 10 of 19 for 133 yards and two interceptions, though his mobility did give the Jets trouble.

“We’ve been through a lot as a team, personally and it just feels good. Anytime you can get to the Super Bowl it feels good. I don’t care want you’re going through, what’s going on, but we as a team put a lot of stuff behind us early and found a way to get it done,” said Roethlisberger. “We weren’t always the prettiest team, but we had guys step up and fill in for guys in critical times in games and during the season. We had some young guys step up and make some plays that you don’t normally see. So, I’m just really proud of that group of guys.”

The Jets did get a 45-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes – the hero of Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl victory two years ago – and a safety after a goal-line stand by the Steelers. But the early hole was too deep.

Now, the Steelers go on to face the Green Bay Packers in Dallas in two weeks.

You can bet that unit led by James Harrison, which shut down the Jets’ comeback in the fourth quarter, will test Aaron Rodgers. That overwhelming defense set the tone for most of the frigid night at Heinz Field to end the Jets’ stunning postseason run.

Ryan slammed down his headset when Brown caught the pass for the first down that allowed the Steelers to hang on and run out the clock.

The Steelers (14-4) will challenge the Packers’ defense with a versatile attack led by running back Rashard Mendenhall and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers ended the Jets’ season with a dominant first half. Mendenhall had 95 of his 121 yards and a touchdown.

Roethlisberger has moved on from a four-game suspension at the beginning of the season to take Pittsburgh to its eighth Super Bowl; the Steelers own the most titles, six. He scrambled time and again for key gains, often against shoddy tackling.

At game’s end, he kneeled on the field, his face buried in an AFC championship T-shirt.

The cocky Jets seemed to have left everything they had in New England last Sunday. There was little trash talking all week and even less fire early in their biggest game since winning the championship 42 years ago. They haven’t been back to the Super Bowl.

The Steelers are regulars, including titles for the 2005 and 2008 teams, both led by Roethlisberger and a fierce defense sparked by play-making safety Troy Polamalu.

Polamalu, his hair pouring from under his helmet as the black-and-gold signature towels flowed throughout Heinz Field, didn’t have to do a whole lot this time. Not with the way his teammates whipped the Jets at the line of scrimmage before a spirited New York surge in the second half.

And too often, New York’s defense was like a swinging gate that Roethlisberger and Mendenhall ran through with ease.

“I’m just so excited and happy for those guys. We moved one step closer to our goal,” said head coach Mike Tomlin. “That team that we played today is a very competitive and very good one and very well coached football team.”

New York (13-6) failed for the fourth time in the AFC title game since 1969, when the Jets won perhaps the most significant of all Super Bowls. It was a devastating finish, particularly after the Jets beat Peyton Manning and the Colts, then Tom Brady and the Patriots on the road to get to Pittsburgh.

The Steelers snapped New York’s hopes of making the Super Bowl a sixth-seed spectacular; the Packers are the NFC’s No. 6 seed.

Tomlin had his Steelers eager for the fight from the outset, while Ryan’s guys were flat until it was too late.

The Packers open as 2½-point favorites for the game Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium.

Stay with KDKA for all the latest on the Steelers!

Comments

One Comment

  1. Stephen Randall Malone says:

    Go Steelers 10-0!

    1. Kelsa says:

      They are presumably only getting a omne-way ticket to Dallas as they’ll all be ill from the fevered pitch. What sloppy writing.

      1. Kelsa says:

        One way.
        That was sloppy too, but then I’m not paid to write this!

  2. Pitnorth says:

    let it be known that Dallas is not the gateway to the midwest as mentioned, that is St. Louis

    1. Paul says:

      Pittsburgh is the orginal “Gateway to the West”
      and the now “Gateway to the SuperBowl”

  3. BB says:

    I hate the Steelers, but I hate the Pgh media more. I can’t watch anything on network TV, which I pay for, because the local stations pre-empt everything to show post-game interviews. I DON”T CARE! I pay for TV to see what I want, not what Pgh media think I want. Why do they force this on those of us who don’t care.

    1. Keta Campbell Deane says:

      I suggest you move!!

      1. Nanny says:

        I second that motion.

      2. Eddie Yount says:

        all in favor of this loser moving say I

      3. W says:

        There is no where BB can move and not be in the Steeler Nation

    2. expittsburgh says:

      They don’t “force this on those…who don’t care.” Rather they extend this for the majority who indeed does care. Welcome to Pgh. Love it, or leave it. 🙂

    3. Ray says:

      Don’t hold back – tell us how you really feel! Good Lord, don’t tell me you’re a Cleveland fan!

    4. baxter says:

      if u have cable? why not just watch something else..u sound bitter my man!! cheer up🙂

    5. Ray says:

      Has to be a cowboy’s fan

    6. Bye Bye BB says:

      I BB you need to move!

    7. castnbash says:

      consider yourself a minority

  4. Weez says:

    Wow BB you are a happy camper 😦

  5. Buceye says:

    Then move BB

  6. X Steeler Fan says:

    Could not agree with you more BB !!!!!

  7. Fl. Steeler says:

    BB – you are a total ASS!

  8. FL STEELER says:

    BB & X Steeler Fan: Lots of homes, real cheap in Mexico. Have a great trip. You now are in STEELER COUNTRY.

    1. lis says:

      AWESOME COMMENT – STEELER COUNTRY ALL THE WAY. They could move and we could care less. Go find a box and live in it somewhere else. If you dont like the steelers move. This is our town and we love the steelers so go find another site to cry on.

  9. Ghost of Johnny Majors says:

    Who cares. Pitt football got 3 commits this weekend

  10. Hannah Lam says:

    yeah steelers

  11. Hannah Lam says:

    so happy

  12. Kip says:

    Why do people pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to freeze their butt off miserably at Heinz Field tonight? I’ll never understand this.

    1. David Sladen says:

      to watch them win …!!! way too much money, but fans made it happen!

      1. Wuss says:

        I agree. wouldnt go to the game if I had a 50 yard line seat and it was free.

  13. DK says:

    I actually pay the PGH media to show Steelers stuff to BB. So him moving probably won’t help. I’ll just pay someone else to make sure he gets the dose of Steeler coverage I think he deserves. (which is a lot)

    1. BB says:

      @DK. What is your address?

  14. buceye says:

    Some one tell BB to take down the rabbit ears . I think Martha is on hallmark Idol is on FOX and SHE can get 60 minutes on CBS.com

  15. Tommy D. says:

    The storyline of this upcoming Super Bowl has to be the kid from Pittsburgh’s Greenfield neighborhood :Mike McCarthy who is the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. If you think about it Pittsburghers can’t lose in this game; if the Steelers win they will be proud and if the Packers win they can be very proud and happy for Mike and his family. Speaking of his family how would you like to be in their shoes being from the Burgh and their son coaching the Packers, you know they have to be cheering for their son, Go Steelers & way to go Mike!

  16. David Sladen says:

    hey, for all you ex Steeler fans.., I hear they sell Dog Suites on E – Bay.. Out in The Navajo Nation and, there are so many fans here…. feels like home…go Stillers n’@t

  17. Pat Sumerall says:

    Dave,
    what are you talking about kemosabe? Go perpetuate your drunken indian stereotype at some other wigwam.

  18. Honeylmalik says:

    Way to GO STEELERSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  19. lis says:

    BB – move…………………………..You are in Steeler Country so bring it on……..We love our team and if you dont get the heck out of our area. BYE BYE.

    Also switch the channel and watch some stupid movie if you dont like our steelers. WE LOVE THEM……………..

    GO STEEERS………………………………………….

  20. Elaine Tucker says:

    the Steeler Nation stretches far and wide
    so next time u feel someone breathing down your neck………………………….

  21. Jeff Reed says:

    Commentator: Congratulations Pig Ben, you just won the AFC Championship game. Where are you going now?

    Pig Ben: I’m going to Milledgeville!!!! Woo HOO!!!!!!

  22. Mario says:

    WE ARE GOING BACK SUPERBOWL BABY TO WIN #7 AND BRING ON THE PACKERS!!! BIG BEN ALWAYS MAKES BIG PLAY TO END THE GAME AND RASHARD RAN THE HARD

  23. MOTHER TUCKER says:

    Elaine!! Put down that 82lb.bag of fritos;drink that 55gal. drum of root beer; YOU stretch far and wide too!!!!!!!!! So scary, squeeler notion!! WOOOOO; Your breath smells

  24. jeff reed, u realy r a looser! guess thats why we had to get rid of u. look at us now! 🙂 here we go again.

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