Final/OT

Steelers 38

(2-4, 0-3 away)

Falcons 41

(4-2, 3-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, October 22, 2006

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA 

1 2 3 4 OT T
PIT 10 14 7 7 038
ATL 7 14 14 3 341

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 238 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: W. Dunn (ATL) - 26 CAR, 69 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: H. Ward (PIT) - 8 REC, 171 YDS, 3 TD

Vick fires 4 TDs as Falcons KO Steelers, Big Ben in OT

ATLANTA (AP) -- Ben Roethlisberger stood on the Pittsburgh sideline with a white towel hanging around his neck. All he could do was watch as Michael Vick and the Falcons finished off the Steelers in a game that was just too good to be settled in 60 minutes.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
Both teams needed this game to keep pace in their division. Ben Roethlisberger (right) threw accurate strikes and spread the ball around nicely before leaving the game from a blow to the head. Special teams were a major factor the entire game and Atlanta clearly won this aspect of the game. The Steelers had many costly mistakes and Michael Vick took full advantage of these gifts. He threw the ball extremely well and made a ton of timely plays. In a back-and-forth emotional bout between two passing attacks, Atlanta landed the last punch. Vick was the difference. Quite a game.

Remember this one. It could be a defining game for both teams this season.

Vick threw a career-high four touchdown passes and hit another long play in overtime Sunday, setting up Morten Andersen to kick a 32-yard field goal that gave Atlanta a thrilling 41-38 win that featured enough twists and turns to last an entire season.

Where to begin? Vick responded to his critics in what had been a dismal season throwing the ball. Roethlisberger was unstoppable until he got knocked out with a scary blow to the head. Hines Ward had a remarkable homecoming.

There's more. The Falcons (4-2) thought they had won in regulation on a 56-yard field goal by their No. 2 kicker, but it didn't count. The Super Bowl champion Steelers squandered a 17-7 lead, fumbling three times and getting surprised by an onside kick in the first half.

The Falcons struck for touchdowns after every Pittsburgh miscue, hanging around in a game that could have been a blowout. Finally, after six lead changes and both teams missing chances to break a 38-38 tie in the final minute, the second-oldest player in NFL history won it for Atlanta.

Whew.

"We learned something about ourselves today," Falcons coach Jim Mora said. "We can hang with the heavyweight champs."

The Steelers (2-4) tied it at 38 with 3:19 remaining when fill-in quarterback Charlie Batch threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Ward, who grew up in the Atlanta area and longed to play for the Falcons.

On this day, he burned the Falcons badly, catching eight passes for 171 yards and a career-best three TDs, including a 70-yarder in which he literally ran out of his right shoe.

Even that wasn't enough. Atlanta won the coin toss for overtime and never let the Steelers have the ball. Vick converted on third-and-9 by scrambling away from Troy Polamalu and flipping a 26-yard pass to Alge Crumpler. Five plays later, the 46-year-old Andersen came on to make the winning kick, atoning for a 52-yarder that fell just short in the final minute of regulation.

"Moments like this are the main reason I'm a Mike Vick fan," Mora said. "For all the talk about what Vick can't do, I like to talk about what he can do. And he does things that no other player in the history of the game at that position has the ability to do."

Coming off a near-perfect first half the previous week against Kansas City, Roethlisberger was brilliant again before halftime, going 15-of-20 for 235 yards and three touchdowns. But Big Ben was knocked unconscious early in the third quarter on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Chauncey Davis after letting go of a pass.

Roethlisberger remained on the turf for at least five minutes before finally wobbling to the sideline, then got wheeled to the locker room on the back of a cart. After changing out of his uniform, he could only watch from the sideline.

Coach Bill Cowher said he wouldn't know for a few days if Roethlisberger would be able to play next Sunday at Oakland.

It was another blow to the Steelers quarterback, his year already marred by a serious motorcycle accident and an appendectomy, and a discouraging loss for a team that seemed to get its season back on track with a 45-7 rout of Kansas City the previous week.

"We left everything on the football field and I couldn't be more proud of the group of guys," Cowher said. "We've dug a hole for ourselves, no question. But I know the character of this football team and we'll be back."

Batch did a good job in relief, throwing for 195 yards and two TDs. But he never got a chance in overtime.

Atlanta thought it won in regulation when Michael Koenen, who lost the kicking job after two games but still handles the punting and long field goals, booted through a 56-yarder with 35 seconds remaining. Cowher managed to call timeout just before the snap, however, and the officials waved off the play.

Koenen tried again and missed, but Polamalu was called for running into the kicker. The Falcons then sent on Andersen, whose try was straight down the middle but fell on the end line.

There was still time for Pittsburgh to pull out a victory. Batch delivered a 25-yard pass to Ward and the Steelers raced up to the line to down the ball with 8 seconds to go. However, receiver Nate Washington flinched ever so slightly before Batch took the snap and threw the ball into the ground, a false-start penalty that automatically led to the remaining seconds being run off the clock.

Ward slammed his helmet to the turf in disgust. The Steelers wouldn't get the ball again.

"This game was the one I wanted the most because Atlanta passed me up when I was coming out of college," Ward said. "This is one I really circled on my calendar."

Vick was 18-of-30 for 232 yards, hooking up with tight end Crumpler on touchdowns of 22, 3 and 31 yards. Crumpler tied a team record for TD catches in a game, while Vick broke his personal mark of three scoring passes in a game, also connecting with Michael Jenkins on a 17-yarder.

The wild game rekindled memories of the last Atlanta-Pittsburgh matchup, a 34-34 overtime tie in 2002.

This time, the Falcons got to celebrate.

Game notes


The Atlanta defense struggled without tackle Rod Coleman (toe) and end John Abraham (groin), who didn't dress. ... Pittsburgh LB Joey Porter was held out because of an ailing hamstring. ... Falcons G Kynan Forney went out for the second time in three games with a separated shoulder.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
ATL
1st Downs2724
Passing 1st downs
2112
Rushing 1st downs
49
1st downs from penalties
23
3rd down efficiency
7-118-16
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays6470
Total Yards473399
Yards per play7.45.7
Total Drives1314
Passing418226
Comp-Att
24-3518-30
Yards per pass
11.07.3
Interceptions thrown
02
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-151-6
Rushing55173
Rushing Attempts
2639
Yards per rush
2.14.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)4-53-6
Penalties9-656-40
Turnovers32
Fumbles lost
30
Interceptions thrown
02
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession30:5336:03

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethlisberger16/2223810.8303-15
Batch8/1319515.0200-0
ATLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Vick18/302327.7421-6

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Parker20472.4016
Haynes11111.0011
ATLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Dunn26692.719
Norwood8648.0036

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLG
Ward817121.4370
Holmes59118.2036
ATLRECYDSAVGTDLG
Crumpler611719.5331
Lelie45814.5028

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITATL
atlTD13:19Alge Crumpler, 22 yd pass from Michael Vick (Morten Andersen kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 18 yds, 1:41
07
pitFG8:51Jeff Reed 28 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 48 yds, 4:26
37
pitTD2:25Hines Ward, 11 yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 66 yds, 5:23
107
SECOND QUARTERPITATL
pitTD10:02Heath Miller, 1 yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 88 yds, 5:42
177
atlTD4:51Alge Crumpler, 3 yd pass from Michael Vick (Morten Andersen kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 25 yds, 2:50
1714
atlTD2:09Michael Jenkins, 17 yd pass from Michael Vick (Morten Andersen kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 51 yds, 2:42
1721
pitTD1:02Nate Washington, -15 yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 1:06
2421
THIRD QUARTERPITATL
atlTD6:02Warrick Dunn, 1 yd run (Morten Andersen kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 26 yds, 1:45
2428
pitTD4:23Hines Ward, 70 yd pass from Charlie Batch (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 80 yds, 1:33
3128
atlTD1:18Alge Crumpler, 31 yd pass from Michael Vick (Morten Andersen kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 75 yds, 3:01
3135
FOURTH QUARTERPITATL
atlFG6:28Morten Andersen 25 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 64 yds, 4:10
3138
pitTD3:24Hines Ward, 17 yd pass from Charlie Batch (Jeff Reed kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 79 yds, 3:05
3838
OVERTIMEPITATL
atlFG8:08Morten Andersen 32 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 65 yds, 6:56
3841