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Old 01-12-2009, 09:43 AM   #1
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Default Foote interception keys Steelers' win

Foote interception keys Steelers' win
Monday, January 12, 2009

The Steelers' lead was 11 points, but the San Diego Chargers were threatening moments after that two-score advantage had been established in the third quarter Sunday.

The threat lasted all of 17 seconds.

Linebacker Larry Foote's diving interception which was upheld on an instant replay review squelched the drive at the Steelers' 21-yard line. The pick was a turning point in the Steelers' 35-24 AFC divisional playoff victory at Heinz Field.

"You can't really call it a fluke because they made a play," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. "But it's almost uncontrollable. They get a tipped ball, dive and make an interception."

The Steelers will host the Baltimore Ravens at 6:30 p.m. Sunday for the AFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XLIII.

"We can still get better," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "But we're in the AFC Championship Game at home.

"Life is good."

Leading 14-10 after two quarters, the Steelers accepted the second-half kickoff and used 13 plays to drive 77 yards in 7 minutes, 56 seconds for a 21-10 lead.

On the subsequent kickoff, San Diego's Darren Sproles darted 63 yards to set up the Chargers at the Steelers' 23. A quick score, and San Diego would have been back in the game.

Instead, it was the Chargers' possession that was quick, and their opportunity evaporated in the time it took for a batted ball to be grabbed.

Keisel did the batting, jumping to impede a Rivers pass that was intended for wide receiver Vincent Jackson.

"I knew they liked that little 'out' route right there," Keisel said. "They had beaten us on it a couple of times. I just wanted to get my hands up, and fortunately, it went our way.

"We were in just a three-man rush. They run that pass all the time, just that little quick hitch. I had a deflection on it the last time we played these guys (on Nov. 16 at Heinz Field, an 11-10 Steelers' victory). The ball just went our way. It was a great play."

Once Keisel did his thing, Foote and fellow Steelers linebacker James Harrison made diving attempts at an interception on the deflection. Foote cradled the ball away from the grass, yet the Chargers challenged the interception.

Foote and Harrison thought the replay review was a waste of time.

"Yeah, I caught it," Foote said. "There wasn't a doubt. I was placing bets with my teammates on the sideline (that the interception would be upheld). Nobody wanted any.

"I rolled away with it."

Added Harrison: "Definitely, no doubt about it. We were stacked up, intermittent. There wasn't any way that ball touched the ground."

It was the only play the Chargers ran the entire quarter.

The interception was Foote's first of the season and the second of his postseason career.

His first playoff pick came in the 2005 AFC Championship Game at Denver, following a regular season in which he hadn't intercepted a pass.

The Steelers went on to beat the Broncos and then the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.

"It was a big play in the game," Keisel said. "They had some momentum after Sproles returned that kickoff.

"It was meant to be."

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Old 01-12-2009, 09:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Foote interception keys Steelers' win

I love it! I actually thought it was Harrison who caught that ball.

Props to Keisel for the heads up play. This defense is amazing.
Ward, after being fined by Goodell on a play that was not penalized:

Originally Posted by Hines Ward
What are you going to say, I was too rough?
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