Who the heck is Santonio Holmes?

During today’s game my wife asked over and over, “Who is this guy?!” The Pittsburgh Steelers pulled out a 4th quarter comeback win over the Browns today, largely thanks to rookie receiver Santonio Holmes. Click here for ESPN’s Steeler Clubhouse. Comments welcome, can the Steelers get into the playoffs?

By Teresa Varley


The Steelers scored 21 points in the second half as Ben Roethlisberger engineered an exciting come-from-behind 24-20 win over the Browns in a constant rain in Cleveland. The win improved the Steelers record to 4-6, while the Browns fell to 3-7.


“I can’t say enough about our football team with the resiliency they displayed today,” said head coach Bill Cowher. “I told you coming in this is a different Cleveland Browns team than we played last year. That was evident from the very beginning. That football team has been in a lot of close games and another one today.”

Roethlisberger, who struggled in the first half with just 36 yards passing and three interceptions, finished the game completing 25 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. Roethlisberger spread the ball around to seven different receivers, with Hines Ward leading the way with seven receptions for 81 yards. Rookie Santonio Holmes had five receptions for 75 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown.


Running back Willie Parker, who had a career-high 213 yards a week ago, was held to just 46 yards, but scored on the ground and had a receiving touchdown.


“The offense made plays,” said Cowher. “Ben made a lot of good plays out there today. We were fortunate to come away with this. Kudos to Cleveland, it’s a good team.”


The Browns scored two of their touchdowns on returns, one on an interception return and the other a 92-yard kickoff return.


“We were fortunate to come out on the plus side of this considering what we gave up,” said Cowher. “We gave up two returns for touchdowns. We were fortunate we were able to overcome that. It was a gutsy effort by Ben and the offense in the fourth quarter to keep responding to plays. It’s a resilient group.”


Cleveland got the ball to start the game and was able to move the ball on their opening drive, with Charlie Frye completing passes to Braylon Edwards and Steve Heiden. Jason Wright, who started at running back for Reuben Droughns, had gains of five and nine yards, moving them into Steelers territory. But the defense would close the door fast when Travis Kirschke sacked Frye for a six-yard loss, forcing a fumble, which was recovered by Clark Haggans at the Steelers 37-yard line.


It was a quick three and out for the Steelers offense, forcing Chris Gardocki to punt. Gardocki’s punt went to the Browns 25-yard line, but Anthony Smith was flagged for interfering with the opportunity to catch the punt and the Browns started on the Steelers 40-yard line.


Frye completed 12-yard passes to Edwards and Lawrence Vickers, before Joey Porter knocked Edwards for an eight-yard loss on a reverse. Frye went back to Edwards for a 15-yard completion, getting the Browns in field goal range. The Steelers got a break when Phil Dawson’s 44-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar and fell short.


Neither team went anywhere on their next drive and then things turned bad for the Steelers. Roethlisberger went to Holmes on the right side and the ball went off his fingertips and into the waiting arms of Daven Holly, who returned the interception 57 yards for a touchdown, giving the Browns a 7-0 lead.


The Steelers got a huge boost on the ensuing kickoff return when Sean Morey returned it 76 yards to the Browns 18-yard line. But the turnovers that have plagued the Steelers this season continued to be a thorn in their side. Roethlisberger looked for Hines Ward, but the pass was batted away by Brodney Pool and intercepted by Willie McGinest at the Browns seven-yard line.


Wright took over in the rain, with five carries for 21 yards. Frye then went to Edwards for a 63-yard gain to the Browns 19-yard line. They converted a fourth-and-one at the Steelers 10-yard line, but three plays later were unable to convert a third-and-long. Dawson came on and this time was right down the middle from 23 yards, giving the Browns a 10-0 lead.


With the ball back, three timeouts remaining and 1:44 on the clock Roethlisberger tried to make something happen before the half. He completed a nine-yard pass to Najeh Davenport, and then Davenport got eight yards on the ground. Turnovers would rear their ugly head again, though, as Wilson could not hold onto the ball and it bounced right into the hands of Holly. Holly’s long return on the interception was negated by penalties, but the Browns did get one last shot at the end zone before the half. On the last play of the half Frye threw the Hail Mary pass to Edwards in the end zone, and as he was trying to pull in the tipped ball, Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor knocked it loose.


The Steelers went three-and-out on their first two possessions of the second half and then finally got a break. Wright went around left tackle for eight yards and was hit by Casey Hampton, forcing a fumble. Ryan Clark recovered, giving the Steelers the ball at the Browns 44-yard line. The Steelers were able to convert the turnover into a 43-yard Jeff Reed field goal, closing the gap to 10-3.


But it didn’t take long for the Browns to get the points right back. Frye took them on a 10-play, 45-yard drive that was capped by Dawson’s second field goal of the day, extending the lead to 13-3.


There was no quit in the Steelers though. Roethlisberger came out firing, hitting Heath Miller for a 16-yard gain and Holmes for 21 yards. He then took it himself off of left guard for a 13-yard gain and hit Ward for a 23-yard gain. Roethlisberger capped the drive by connecting with Holmes for a 20-yard touchdown to pull the Steelers within three at 13-10.


Just when things were starting to look up for the Steelers, Joshua Cribbs returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown, extending the lead to 20-10.


The offense continued to fight. Roethlisberger went into the no-huddle, lining up out of the shotgun and going to work. He completed four straight passes to put the Steelers in Browns territory at the Cleveland 49-yard line and then Wilson pulled in a 13-yard reception to give them a first down at the Browns 36-yard line. Roethlisberger was sacked for a loss of 10-yards, by Kamerion Wimbley was called for a 15-yard facemask penalty, giving the Steelers first down instead of a third and long. Roethlisberger hit Ward for 12 yards and Parker for 16 yards. Parker then put the exclamation point on the drive when he went into the end zone from one-yard out, closing in on the lead at 20-17.


The defense came out with the same fire as the offense, sacking Frye and stopping Wright for a two-yard gain. Polamalu broke-up Frye’s third down pass, putting the ball back in the hands of the offense.


Roethlisberger completed a 13-yard pass to Nate Washington and then went to Wilson, who was unable to get both feet in bounds. Ward pulled in a 21-yard reception across the middle, but was injured on the play, but returned to action. Roethlisberger went to his fourth receiver on the drive and completed a 15-yard pass to Holmes to the Browns 28-yard line. The air attack continued with completions to Holmes for eight yards and Washington, who fought for 11 yards and the first down. Roethlisberger then dumped it off to Parker for a four-yard touchdown, giving the Steelers their first lead of the game at 24-20.

The Browns got the ball back with 27 seconds to play at their own 43-yard line. Frye got them to the Steelers 22-yard line when he threw the Hail Mary to Edwards in the end zone, but the game ended like the first half did, with the pass falling incomplete and the Steelers holding on to win.

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