Steelers get record-long play in 32-20 victory - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Steelers get record-long play in 32-20 victory

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Posted: Monday, October 24, 2011 2:50 am | Updated: 7:07 am, Mon Oct 24, 2011.

(AP) — No matter the 95-yard touchdown pass, even if it was the longest in the franchise history. Don't get carried away with the 361 yards passing or the 445 total yards.

Ben Roethlisberger came away from the Pittsburgh Steelers' 32-20 victory over Arizona on Sunday "a little bit disappointed."

"I don't think we played as well as we should have," he said.

It was good enough to beat the reeling Cardinals, who have lost five in a row. With four of their next five on the road, beginning next Sunday at Baltimore, things look bleak for Arizona.

"I've been in slumps like this before and the only way things are going to change is if we keep fighting," Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald said. "The Baltimore Ravens could care less about our record. They can care less about what our issues are."

While a trip to Baltimore is about the last thing the Cardinals (1-5) need, Sunday's performance was a nice warmup for the Steelers for next Sunday's home showdown against New England, especially considering how the team had sputtered a bit on the road. Pittsburgh (5-2) has won three straight and improved to 2-2 on the road.

"I still don't think we are there," Roethlisberger said. "I think we are getting closer. I still think that there are some things that we could do to get better, but that's good. It's early in the year still that we can make improvements. We don't want to be clicking it 100 percent right now. We want to be winning games and moving forward."

The tone was set by the 95-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace.

"You know he can run by you," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, "but he still finds a way to do it."

Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt had studied tape of Wallace outracing one defender after another.

"We knew that was coming," he said. "We did everything we could to work to prevent that."

To no avail.

"You put it out there for a guy like that and you start smiling," Roethlisberger said, "because you know he is not going to get caught."

Roethlisberger, 26 of 39 for 361 yards, also had TD passes of 12 yards to Heath Miller and 4 yards to Emmanuel Sanders in the first game between the teams since Pittsburgh's 27-23 thriller over the Cardinals in the 2009 Super Bowl.

Kevin Kolb threw a pair of touchdown passes for Arizona (1-5), his first in three games, but missed several open receivers and, with a blitzing LaMarr Woodley in his face, drew an intentional grounding call in the Cardinals' end zone for a safety.

Pittsburgh (5-2) won its third straight and improved to 2-2 on the road.

Shaun Suisham kicked field goals of 41, 42 and 39 yards for the Steelers.

The big play from Roethlisberger to Wallace, cheered on by a crowd that included a generous and boisterous bunch of Steelers fans, came in the second quarter after an Arizona drive stalled at the Steelers 39 and Dave Zastudil's 30-yard punt pinned Pittsburgh on its 9-yard line. A false start penalty pushed it back to the Steelers 5.

On the next play, Roethlisberger dropped back into the Pittsburgh end zone and lofted a pass down the sideline toward Wallace, who had beaten cornerback Richard Marshall.

Wallace caught the ball in stride, breaking free of a pair of would-be tacklers along the way, and raced to the end zone for the score that made it 14-0 with 8:09 left in the half.

He said he was not the No. 1 receiver on the play, but was trying to clear things out for the tight end underneath.

"Their guy jumped outside and let me get inside," he said. "The safety was in the middle of the field so I just threw my hand up."

The previous longest pass play was 90 yards, first set by Terry Bradshaw to Mark Malone against Seattle in 1981, then matched by Bubby Brister to Dwight Stone against Denver in 1990 and Kordell Stewart to Bobby Shaw against Baltimore in 2001.

It was the second-longest play from scrimmage for the Pittsburgh franchise. Only Bobby Gage's 97-yard run against Chicago in 1949 was longer.

Down 17-7 at the half, the Cardinals cut the lead to 17-14 with 9:26 left in the third quarter when Kolb threw short over the middle to LaRod Stephens-Howling and the 5-foot-7 back outran defenders on a 73-yard touchdown play.

Pittsburgh scored the next 15 points.

"We went out there and closed the game out," Woodley said. "That was the important thing today."

Kolb, acquired from Philadelphia and signed to a five-year, $63 million contract — with $21 million guaranteed — still is struggling with the Arizona offense, although he insists things are getting better with each game.

Arizona was coming off a bye week and Kolb had talked about how good the practices had been.

"I feel from a personal standpoint, in and out of the huddle, the plays, it all came a lot smoother to me today," he said. "Obviously there were a couple of throws that I would like to have back. Those plays need to be made. That's me, too."

Asked if he thought Kolb was pressing, Fitzgerald said, "I wouldn't say he's lost any confidence or anything like that."

"It's not all Kevin's fault," Fitzgerald said. "We all can improve. That is how we all have to look at it."

Arizona running back Beanie Wells rushed for 42 yards before leaving the game in the second quarter with a sprained right knee. Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward was carted off in the second half with an ankle injury.

NOTES: Miller caught four passes to move ahead of Franco Harris for sixth in Steelers career receptions with 308. ... Fitzgerald caught four passes for 78 yards. Arizona's struggles could endanger its streak of sellouts, which dates to the opening of University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006. Arizona's next home game is Nov. 6 against currently winless St. Louis. ... The Cardinals are 6-16 since Kurt Warner retired. ... Malone was a rookie quarterback filling in at receiver for Lynn Swann when he caught the 90-yarder from Bradshaw.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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