Pittsburgh took the opening
kickoff and moved down the field on a 71-yard scoring drive, with
Ben Roethlisberger completing a 38-yard
pass to Hines Ward and a 21-yard strike to Heath Miller, putting
the ball at the Arizona 1-yard line. On third down, Roethlisberger
appeared to score on a quarterback scramble, but it was overruled
by a replay challenge, which determined that he was down before the
ball crossed the goal line. Rather than make another attempt at a
touchdown, Pittsburgh settled for a Jeff Reed 18-yard field goal
to take the 3–0 lead. It was the second straight year a team
took the opening kickoff down for a score as the Giants did the same
in Super Bowl XLII (the last time before that was the Falcons in
Super Bowl XXXIII). The Steelers quickly forced an Arizona punt and
then drove back down the field for what would turn into more points.
On the first play of their drive, Roethlisberger completed a 25-yard
pass to Santonio Holmes. Following three more completions to Miller
for 26 yards and another one to Holmes for 7, reserve running back
Gary Russell went into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown run to
make the score 10–0 on the second play of the second quarter.
They became the first team to score on its first two drives since
the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII. On defense, Pittsburgh held
Arizona to just one drive and one first down in the first quarter,
while gaining 135 yards.
The Cardinals got going for the first time midway through the second
quarter as a 45-yard completion from Kurt Warner to Anquan Boldin
moved the ball to the Steelers' 1-yard line. On the next play, Warner
nearly fell over after taking the snap, but he regained his balance
and threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ben Patrick. After
an exchange of punts, Roethlisberger threw a pass that was tipped
at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by linebacker Karlos Dansby
at the Steelers 34-yard line with 2:46 left in the half. Seven plays
later, the Cardinals drove to a first down on the Pittsburgh 1-yard
line. But with 18 seconds left, Warner's pass was intercepted in
the end zone by linebacker James Harrison, who then took off down
the sideline for the longest play in Super Bowl history, a 100-yard
return for a touchdown, increasing the Steelers' lead to 17–7
at halftime. A booth review was called to verify that Harrison had
broken the plane, as he was tackled at the goal line, and the ruling
After forcing a punt, the Steelers started off the third quarter
with another long scoring drive. Aided by three personal foul penalties
against Arizona, they moved the ball 79 yards in 14 plays and took
8:39 off the clock. However, they were unable to get into the end
zone, despite two first downs inside the Cardinals 10 (a penalty
against Arizona on a Steelers field goal attempt gave them another
chance), and they had to settle for another Reed field goal to give
them a 13-point lead, 20–7. After a few more punts, Warner
led the Cardinals down the field on an eight-play, 87-yard scoring
drive that took 3:57 off the clock, utilizing a no huddle offense.
With 7:33 left in the game, Warner threw a high floating pass to
Larry Fitzgerald, who made a leaping catch through tight coverage
by Ike Taylor for a touchdown, making the score 20–14.
Later on, Ben Graham's 34-yard punt pinned the Steelers back at
their own 1-yard line. Two plays later on third down and 10, Roethlisberger
threw a 20-yard pass to Holmes, but center Justin Hartwig was called
for holding in the end zone, which not only nullified the catch,
but gave the Cardinals a safety, raising the score to 20–16.
Taking over on their own 36 after the free kick, Arizona took two
plays to score, as Warner threw a pass to Fitzgerald on a post route.
Fitzgerald caught the ball without breaking stride and took off down
the middle of the field past the Steelers secondary for a 63-yard
touchdown reception, giving Arizona their first lead of the game,
The final play of the gamePittsburgh got the ball back on their own
22-yard line with 2:37 left in the game and two timeouts remaining.
On their first play, a holding penalty pushed them back 10 yards.
Roethlisberger then completed two passes to Holmes for 27 yards.
After an 11-yard reception by Nate Washington and a 4-yard run
by Roethlisberger, he completed a 40-yard pass to Holmes at the
Cardinals 6-yard line. Two plays later, Holmes caught a pass in
the corner of the end zone and managed to land his toes down right
before falling out of bounds for a touchdown. After a booth review,
the touchdown pass stood. Reed's ensuing extra point made the score
27–23 with 35 seconds remaining. Following the ensuing kickoff,
Warner completed a 20-yard pass to Fitzgerald and a 13-yarder to
J. J. Arrington, moving the ball to the Steelers 44. With 18 seconds
left, Warner prepared to attempt a Hail Mary pass, but linebacker
LaMarr Woodley forced a fumble while sacking Warner, which defensive
end Brett Keisel recovered, giving the ball back to Pittsburgh
with five seconds left. Roethlisberger took a knee, sealing the
Steelers' NFL record sixth Super Bowl title.
Super Bowl XLIII Statistics
PIT – Jeff Reed 18 yard field goal. PIT 3–0
PIT – Gary Russell 1 yard run. PIT
ARI – Ben Patrick 1 yard pass from Kurt Warner. PIT 10–7
PIT – James Harrison 100 yard interception return. PIT 17–7
PIT – Jeff Reed 21 yard field goal. PIT 20–7
ARI – Larry Fitzgerald 1 yard pass from Kurt Warner. PIT
ARI – Holding penalty on Justin Hartwig in end zone for safety.
ARI – Larry Fitzgerald 64 yard pass from Kurt Warner. ARI
PIT – Santonio Holmes 6 yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger.
Pittsburgh Steelers - 27
Arizona Cardinals - 23
Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes Pittsburgh
Santonio Holmes, who caught nine passes for 131 yards and a touchdown,
including four receptions for 71 yards on the final game-winning
named Super Bowl MVP. He became the sixth wide receiver to win the
award, and also was the third Pittsburgh receiver to win the award,
following Lynn Swann and Hines Ward.