Tuesday, November 2, 2010
AFC North Week 8 decisive moment
By James Walker
» NFC Decisive Moments: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
There were a lot of unusual things we saw from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Halloween night. Troy Polamalu had a rare bad game, Pittsburgh looked rattled by the New Orleans Saints in the second half and reliable tight end Heath Miller fumbled the football.
That last item is this week's decisive moment in the AFC North. With Pittsburgh's offense finally getting in rhythm, Miller's late fumble killed a golden opportunity for the Steelers to tie the score or take the lead in the fourth quarter.
With the Steelers down 10 points, tailback Rashard Mendenhall broke off a 38-yard touchdown run to cut the Saints' lead to 13-10 with 10:38 remaining. The reigning champs responded by driving into Pittsburgh territory. But Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees fumbled, giving the Steelers hope for a late comeback.
Three plays later, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found Miller open over the middle. But in the process of Miller breaking a few tackles, Saints linebacker Marvin Mitchell jarred the ball loose and safety Darren Sharper recovered.
Miller was not the reason the Steelers lost the game. But his fumble represented Pittsburgh's final chance of leaving New Orleans with a victory.