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Steelers

3 tackles from Steelers divisional-round games you'll never forget

Joe Rutter
| Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, 7:51 a.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Vrabel and Nolan Harrison celebrate after New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe's fumbles in the final minute of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium on Jan. 3, 1998. The Steelers won 7-6.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Vrabel and Nolan Harrison celebrate after New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe's fumbles in the final minute of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium on Jan. 3, 1998. The Steelers won 7-6.
Indianapolis 
Colts defensman Nick Harper is stopped by the Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger after he recovered a fumble and returned it 35 yards in the fourth quarter at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis Jan. 15, 2006. The Steelers won the game 21-18.
Philip G. Pavely/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Indianapolis Colts defensman Nick Harper is stopped by the Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger after he recovered a fumble and returned it 35 yards in the fourth quarter at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis Jan. 15, 2006. The Steelers won the game 21-18.

With the Steelers preparing to face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in an AFC divisional round playoff game, the Tribune-Review is taking a look back at some of the most memorable plays in the team's postseason history. The compilation is limited to the divisional round. Today: 3 memorable tackles (in reverse chronological order)


Jan. 15, 2011: Steelers 31, Ravens 24

Ryan Clark's forced fumble sparks a second-half comeback.

The Steelers trail 21-7 at the half, and it looks like the playoff trek will be a short one. But in the third quarter, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco throws a screen to Ray Rice. Clark reaches around Rice and pops the ball from his grasp. LaMarr Woodley recovers at the 23, and the Steelers quickly score on a Ben Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Heath Miller.

This re-energizes the Steelers, who score 17 unanswered points to retake the lead. A Rashard Mendenhall touchdown run with 1:39 left sends the Steelers to the AFC championship game.


Jan. 15, 2006: Steelers 21, Colts 18

The play is simply known as The Tackle, with Ben Roethlisberger tripping up Nick Harper to prevent a potential touchdown return following Jerome Bettis' stunning fumble at the goal line.

The Steelers, heavy underdogs entering the game, take a 21-3 lead into the fourth quarter. The Colts score two touchdowns, but Peyton Manning turns the ball over on downs near his end zone with 1:20 left in the game.

Bettis, who never fumbles, does just that, with the ball popping into the hands of Harper, whose wife had stabbed him in the leg the previous night in a domestic dispute. Harper takes off the other way. Roethlisberger, the only Steelers player standing between Harper and the end zone, sticks out his arm and trips Harper at the Indianapolis 42.

With a minute and three timeouts left, the Colts drive to the Steelers 28. With 21 seconds left, Mike Vanderjagt tries a 46-yard field goal that soars wide right, and the Steelers advance to the AFC championship game in Denver.


Jan. 3, 1998: Steelers 7, Patriots 6

Mike Vrabel's strip sack and Jason Gildon's fumble recovery help the Steelers avoid an upset.

Coach Bill Cowher gambles late in the low-scoring playoff game and goes for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with 3:24 left. Kordell Stewart is stopped, and the Patriots take over with a chance to get a go-ahead field goal.

Drew Bledsoe drives the Patriots to the New England 42. On first down, Vrabel comes around the right edge and clips Bledsoe's arm. The ball falls into Gildon's hands with 1:44 left, enabling the Steelers to hold on.

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