Wrap-up: Steelers 24, Giants 20
November, 4, 2012
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
My thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 24-20 victory at the New York Giants:
What it means: The Steelers are hitting their stride, winning four of their past five games including three straight. Sunday's victory was a statement game for Pittsburgh. The Steelers had pointed to this game at the defending Super Bowl champion Giants as a measuring stick and showed their mettle by overcoming a change to their travel plays, questionable calls by the officials, the loss of two injured running backs and a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Isaac Redman ran for 147 yards and the winning one-yard touchdown as the Steelers pulled off the fourth-quarter comeback. Pittsburgh (5-3) remains one game behind the AFC North-leading Ravens (6-2).
Redman steps up: Redman was the starting running back by default after Jonathan Dwyer (quad) and Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) were inactive. He finished with 147 yards, which was 20 more than what he totaled in five previous games this season. This marked the third straight game that the Steelers have had a 100-yard rusher.
Sanders delivers big plays: Emmanuel Sanders more than filled the void left by Antonio Brown, who injured his left ankle in the first half and didn't return. Sanders caught a four-yard pass for the Steelers' first touchdown and averaged 25.3 yards on three punts. He should've scored on one return but he was stopped by Giants punter Steve Weatherford.
Questionable calls: NFL referee Billy Leavy, who acknowledged he made mistakes in helping the Steelers win their Super Bowl over the Seahawks, wasn't doing Pittsburgh any favors Sunday. Leavy didn't overturn Ben Roethlisberger's fumble in the second quarter, which led to a 70-yard return for a touchdown, even though it looked like the Steeelers quarterback's arm was going forward. Leavy also upheld the Giants' first touchdown when it didn't look like running back Andre Brown had broken the plane. The Steelers were penalized six times for 119 yards.
Roethlisberger over Manning: Roethlisberger has bragging rights over Eli Manning in a matchup of two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks from the 2004 draft. Roethlisberger threw for 216 yards and two touchdowns, including a 51-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace in the fourth quarter. Manning was held to 125 yards, which is 162 yards below his per-game average this season. Roethlisberger has now beaten Manning in two of the three meetings.
Overcoming the fake: The Steelers faced fourth-and-1 trailing by three points (20-17) with 10 1/2 minutes remaining. Even though the Steelers were at the Giants' 3-yard line, it's an easy decision to go for the tying field goal, right? Pittsburgh went for a fake field goal -- kicker Shaun Suisham took a backward flip from holder Drew Butler -- which resulted in a one-yard loss. The Steelers defense, though, forced a three-and-out, and the offense drove 51 yards on nine plays for the winning touchdown. The risky call didn't hurt the Steelers in the end.
Tight travel: Maybe the Steelers should consider traveling on the day of the game for every road trip. Pittsburgh, which couldn't travel to New Jersey on Saturday because its hotel was without power, arrived hours before kickoff. Unlike previous away games this season, the Steelers didn't have the same difficulties in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh outscored the Giants, 14-0, in the final 14 minutes of the game.
What's next: The Steelers return home to play the last-place Chiefs (1-7) on "Monday Night Football."