Running back Isaac Redman rushed for a 147 yards on 26 carries and scored from one yard out to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 24-20 win Sunday over the New York Giants in a game that was filled with bad calls against the black and gold.
Redman, who got the start due to Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer sitting out the game injured, ran very hard and decisive up the middle, with most of his yards coming between the tackles. The Steelers running back had missed the last two games due to an ankle injury suffered back in Week 5 to the Tennessee Titans, but showed no ill-effects Sunday night.
Not only did the Steelers have to beat the Giants, but they also had to beat the officials that were led by referee Bill Leavy. The bad calls started with a questionable pass interference call on cornerback Keenan Lewis with 10:50 left in the first half and continued on later in the drive when safety Ryan Clark was flagged for a personal foul for his shoulder-to-shoulder hit on Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz in the end zone following an incomplete third down pass that was almost intercepted by cornerback Ike Taylor.
The referees called Clark for a helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver, but replays showed that the hit was indeed textbook as well as legal.
One play later the officials ruled that Giants running back Andre Brown had scored from one-yard out, but even that replay looked like Brown was down before the ball broke the goal-line. The play was reviewed but not overturned.
On the Steelers next drive, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a ball slip out of his hand as his arm was moving forward while under heavy pressure. Giants linebacker Michael Boley scooped up the loose ball and returned it 70 yards and it was ruled a touchdown. Replays showed that the play should have been ruled incomplete per the “tuck rule”, but after an official review, the play was ruled as called on the field.
Also on the return by Boley for the score, the referees missed a block in the back Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on Steelers tight end Heath Miller to add injury to insult.
Despite the adversity, the Steelers only trailed 14-10 at the half. The Giants added a two field goals by Lawrence Tynes on their first two possessions of the second half to give them a 10 point lead, but the Steelers offense answered back with a 5 play, 75 yard that was capped off with a 51 yard pass from Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace to pull the Steelers within 3 points.
The Steelers defense forced the Giants offense to go three and out on their next possession and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who was forced into punt return duty after both Antonio Brown and Chris Rainey left the game with injuries, returned the ensuing punt 63 yards to set the offense up at the Giants 12 yard-line with 12:36 left in the game. The Steelers offense could not capitalize on the return as kicker Shaun Suisham was tackled for a one yard loss on an attempted fake field goal on fourth down.
The Steelers defense bailed out the bad decision of head coach Mike Tomlin by forcing the Giants offense and their quarterback Eli Manning to go three and out once again.
At that point, the Steelers offensive line took over the game and the offense drove 51 yards on 9 plays to take the lead with 4:08 left in the game. That drive featured key passes from Roethlisberger to Miller and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery and was capped off by the aforementioned one yard touchdown run by Redman.
The Giants still had plenty of time left on the clock but the Steelers defense forced a third straight three and out that culminated in linebacker LaMarr Woodley sacking Manning on third down.
The Steelers offense got the ball back with 2:52 left in the game and Roethlisberger hit Sanders for 16 yards on third down with 2:40 left in the game to effectively put the game on ice.
It was a signature win of sorts for the Steelers, who now move to 5-3 on the season. They now will go back home to host the hapless Kansas City Chiefs next Monday night.
Tomlin said after the win that Brown suffered a mild left high ankle sprain and that Rainey suffered a rib injury of sorts that could be cartilage related. Both players will be evaluated again when the team returns back to Pittsburgh and it would not be surprising to see both miss the Monday night game.