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Old 02-01-2009, 10:49 PM   #1
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Default Game-winning catch caps Holmes' stellar game

Game-winning catch caps Holmes' stellar game
By Kevin Gorman
Sunday, February 1, 2009

TAMPA Santonio Holmes was surrounded by red jerseys, trapped in the back right corner of the end zone with only enough room to stand on his tiptoes and stretch out his arms.

Ben Roethlisberger's pass was thrown to a spot where only Holmes could catch it. And the third-year receiver did just that, making a grab that stood up to video review and clinched the Steelers' sixth Super Bowl.

"My feet never left the ground," Holmes said. "All I did was extend my arms and use my toes as an extra extension to catch up to the ball."

Holmes' 6-yard score with 35 seconds left to earned him Most Valuable Player honors and lifted the Steelers to a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday night in Super Bowl XLIII at Raymond James Stadium.

"Santonio Holmes really made a name for himself," said Steelers receiver Hines Ward, the MVP of Super Bowl XL.

It was his fourth of the eight-play, 78-yard game-winning drive, and Holmes finished with nine receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. He also had receptions of 14, 13 and 40 yards on the drive, the latter improbably putting the Steelers in position to win a game they nearly blew.

"I said to (Roethlisberger) that I wanted to be the guy to make the plays for this team," Holmes said during the MVP trophy presentation. "I wanted to be great, and great players step up in the biggest games."

Holmes did just that, coming through for the Steelers and upstaging Larry Fitzgerald just minutes after Fitzgerald gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game with a 64-yard touchdown catch with 2:37 remaining.

Playing in his home state, Holmes, of Belle Glade, came up with the two biggest plays in the final minute of the game. He froze a Cardinals' defensive back, causing him to slip, then caught it and ran to the 6.

After just missing on a pass in the far left corner, the Steelers decided to go back to Holmes on the opposite side of the field on the next play.

"It was a play that we drew up that we were hoping to get open in the back of the end zone," Holmes said. "The defensive back bit up on the short route and Ben held onto the ball long enough to get it to me."

Roethlisberger's pass sailed past Cardinals defensive backs Ralph Brown, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Aaron Francisco and into the outstretched arms of Holmes, who basked in his heroics.

"Santonio is a guy that just loves to deliver in big moments and big games," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "What he did tonight is similar to what he did for us in the month of January. ...

"In big moments, we know what we can get from him."

Kevin Gorman can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com or 412-320-7812.
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