February 06, 2011
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Calm down, Steelers fans. It wasn't pass interference.
On what would end up being the final offensive play for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams(notes) broke up a fourth-down pass from Ben Roethlisberer to Mike Wallace(notes). The incompletion gave Green Bay the ball with 49 seconds left and effectively ended the game. Both Wallace and Roethlisbeger lobbied officials for a flag that never came.
Were they right?
There was nothing on the play but solid defense by Williams. Roethlisberger had Wallace open in the middle of the field but delivered the ball a little high and a split-second too late. Williams came in and bodied the receiver but didn't make any contact that warranted a flag. The play was there to be made but the Steelers didn't execute.
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It was the final "what if" on a night full of near-misses for the Steelers. Roethlisberger's first-quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown by Nick Collins(notes), a field-goal miss by Shaun Suisham(notes), and Rashard Mendenhall's(notes) fourth-quarter fumble were all game-changing plays that went Green Bay's way.
After trailing 21-3 late in the second quarter, Pittsburgh got back in the game thanks to running back Rashard Mendenhall and a renewed passing attack that was buoyed by the absence of Packers star corner Charles Woodson(notes). But failures to stop Green Bay on critical third downs and an inability to move the ball in the fourth quarter stopped Pittsburgh's comeback and gave Green Bay its fourth Super Bowl title in team history.
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