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Published: Monday, 1/24/2011

Roethlisberger comes through at end


PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger saved his best pass for last.

Roethlisberger tiptoed around the backfield, hurried by Jets defenders on a third-and-6 from the New York 40.

No problem. The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback rolled right and hit Antonio Brown for a 14-yard gain with less than two minutes left to seal a 24-19 victory and win the AFC title and a trip to the Super Bowl to play the Green Bay Packers.

It held off what could have been a remarkable comeback by New York from a 21-point halftime deficit.

The Jets were out of timeouts. Three kneel-downs after Big Ben's big play, the quarterback raised an arm in the air and got mobbed by teammates as the Heinz Field stands rocked.

"This one was for Steelers fans," Roethlisberger said. "I'm really proud of the way you came out and supported us tonight."

He finished 10-of-19 for 133 yards and two interceptions, though his mobility did give the Jets trouble much of the night. He finished with 11 carries for 21 yards and a two-yard scramble into the end zone to give the Steelers a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

But things got dicey for the Steelers in the second half. The Jets defense pitched a second-half shutout on what had been a dominating Pittsburgh offense.

Jerricho Cotchery's four-yard TD catch cut the lead to five late in the fourth quarter, and the Jets kicked the ball back to the Steelers hoping for a big defensive stand.

It wasn't to be, not with Roethlisberger at the controls. His last pass turned out to be the most important.

Roethlisberger is now 10-2 in the postseason. Entering Sunday he had completed 61 percent of his postseason passes, with 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

"Here we go," Steelers fans yelled in unison after the game as they furiously waved their Terrible Towels.

All the way to their third Super Bowl in six seasons.

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