We also saw the indecisive worst out of the unorthodox but hugely successful quarterback: his repeated pump fakes as he searched for his best options down field only served to heighten the effectiveness of Baltimore's intense pass rush. At the end of the day, though, he produced winning numbers: 19-of-32 for 226 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 101.8 passer rating, a perfect strike on the most important throw of the year -- and a fourth AFC title-game appearance in seven NFL seasons.
Flozell Adams left the game with a mysterious reported "illness". Jonathan Scott went down later, replaced by guard Doug Legursky as Pittsburgh patch-worked together its offensive front. A few plays later, on 4th-and-1 deep in Baltimore territory, Roethlisberger ran behind Legursky, who jacked up 350-pound defensive end Brandon McKinney, allowing the quarterback to fight forward for a huge first down. The line also buckled down to give Mendenhall enough room to squeeze out a 2-yard run for the game's winning score.