John Clayton's game balls
In a game that featured Kurt Warner
's 377-yard passing performance and Larry Fitzgerald
's seven-catch, 127-yard showing, Santonio Holmes
was the star with nine receptions for 131 yards, including the game-winning 6-yard touchdown grab. "I stepped in the huddle with Ben [Roethlisberger] and told him I wanted to be the guy to make plays for the team,'' Holmes said. Holmes caught three passes for 59 yards on the Steelers' game-clinching, 78-yard drive late in the fourth quarter.
• Defense: James Harrison
's 100-yard interception return for a TD before halftime will probably be viewed as the greatest play in Super Bowl history. Minutes before Bruce Springsteen played "Born To Run,'' the linebacker who wasn't fast enough to be drafted and was cut a total of four times by two teams intercepted a Kurt Warner
pass at the goal line. Because the clock was expiring, Harrison had to score, and he did.
"It was very tiring but it all worth it,'' he said. "I was just thinking I had to do whatever I could to get to the other end zone and get seven.'' Instead of trailing 14-10 at the half, the Steelers led 17-7 thanks to Harrison.
• Special teams:
The Steelers' Mitch Berger
edged out teammate Jeff Reed
. Reed had short field goals of 18 and 21 yards, but Berger averaged 46.3 yards on his three punts and had a good free kick after a fourth-quarter safety.
Super Bowl grades
The offense started fast with 10 points on its first two possessions. From there, the unit didn't give the team much until the final drive, but the last touchdown was important.
The defense scored six points and held Arizona's high-powered offense to 21. The 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by linebacker James Harrison
was the longest play in Super Bowl history.
Special teams: B
The Steelers gave up one big punt return in the first half that didn't hurt them. Kicker Jeff Reed
was perfect on field goals (2-for-2) and extra points (3-for-3).
The Steelers stayed one step ahead of Arizona on both sides of the football for three quarters. The Cardinals got hot toward the end, but the coaching staff kept Pittsburgh's players poised to pull out the late win.
-- James Walker
Known more for glitz than guts, the Cardinals' offense showed both as needed, a tremendous achievement given the matchup advantages Pittsburgh's defensive ends enjoyed in this game. Arizona dusted off its four-receiver offense to great effect, and the protection held up in a couple of critical situations.
An inspired effort from Darnell Dockett
and others helped cover for some of the Cardinals' defensive flaws. The Cardinals had no answer for Heath Miller
early in the game, but he didn't hurt them as much later. This was nearly a defining game for the Cardinals' defense, but Arizona could not hold up in the end. Santonio Holmes
shredded the Cardinals' pass defense for 131 yards.
Special teams: B
Arizona suffered a personal foul penalty on a field goal try and mental errors in the return game. The Cardinals' coverage units held up better than expected. Lots of extra credit for downing a punt at the 1-yard line to set up a safety and turn the game's momentum.
Ken Whisenhunt's successful challenges helped keep the game from getting away from Arizona. The Cardinals also found ways to get Larry Fitzgerald
open when it mattered. Arizona never did find the right adjustments in defending Holmes. Whether that was coaching -- or personnel-related issues -- wasn't immediately clear.
-- Mike Sando