Breaston's return swings momentum vs. Steelers
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Arizona Cardinals rookie Steve Breaston isn't just any punt returner. And his electrifying, 73-yard return for touchdown early in the fourth quarter of the Cardinals' 21-14 win Sunday against the Steelers wasn't just any punt return.
"It's exciting," said Breaston, who could have been referring to his first NFL score or to helping Arizona defeat the team he had followed since his youth.
Breaston attended Woodland Hills High School, but he's no longer a Steelers fan. But that doesn't mean all of his family members changed their allegiance to the Cardinals.
"There's black and gold in my whole house," Breaston said with a smile.
Perhaps that will change to red and white -- Arizona's colors.
A fifth-round draft pick from the University of Michigan, Breaston had been biding his time, waiting for an opportunity like the one that presented itself yesterday.
With the score tied, 7-7, Breaston settled under Daniel Sepulveda's booming, 59-yard punt at the Arizona 27. Breaston was able to get a running start because the Steelers' coverage was slow to react when he fielded the punt.
Veering to his right and weaving around potential tacklers, Breaston may not have scored an easier touchdown since high school.
He essentially glided over the last few yards, extending the ball in one hand as he crossed the goal line.
He scored standing, knocking the Steelers to their collective knees as the Cardinals led, 14-7, with 14:10 remaining.
"That punt return was a dagger," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said.
It was Arizona's first punt return for a touchdown since 1993.
Fourteen years ago, a 10-year-old Breaston was a huge Steelers fan.
He never could have imagined scoring the touchdown that changed the momentum in a game that was up for grabs.
Entering yesterday, Breaston had returned six punts for a 7.8-yard average.
When asked whether he knew how much the game meant to Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt and assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm, former assistants with the Steelers, Breaston said, "Pittsburgh is a very good team. It shows we can play with the big boys."
With a little help from a former Steelers fan.
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