Defending champions wilt in fourth quarter under power of Redman and depth of Steelers' receiving corps.
If there was a question heading into the Steelers Week 9 game against the New York Giants as to who the better quarterback was, an answer was provided. Maybe not a definitive answer, but an answer nonetheless.
Isaac Redman was the best running back on the field, as the Steelers defeated the defending Super Bowl champions 24-20 in East Rutherford, N.J., Sunday.
Neither team's passing offense clicked throughout the game but the Steelers running game plowed through the Giants soft defense, rushing for 147 yards and 4.5 yards per carry. His 147 yards and 26 carries were both regular season highs for Redman.
In a game highlighted by quarterbacks known for their fourth quarter heroics, Redman, a native of nearby Gloucester County, N.J., had a one-yard touchdown run to take a 24-20 lead, then, on the Steelers next possession, rushed for 28 yards on first and 10, sealing the win for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh won their third straight game, moving them to 5-3, one game behind division leader Baltimore in the AFC North.
It wasn't without its cost, though. The Steelers lost both wide receiver Antonio Brown to a first half foot injury, and running back/kick returner Chris Rainey to a chest injury in the second half. It was of some consequence, but in reality, it opened the doors for Emmanuel Sanders, who had a 63-yard punt return and an even bigger 16-yard catch on third and nine, setting up Redman's game-sealing run.
The defensive side of the ball didn't suffer any apparent injuries, and came alive in the fourth quarter. The Steelers forced three consecutive three-and-out series from the Giants - all in the fourth quarter - and got a big sack/fumble from outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley to force a punt. The Giants didn't hold the ball again.
Despite a general lack of pass rush, the Steelers shut down the Giants highly skilled passing offense. Quarteback Eli Manning was 10-for-24 with 125 yards and an interception for an in-game rating of 41.1.
His counterpart, Ben Roethlisberger, was considerably better, but played perhaps his least effective game of the year, statistically speaking. He was 21-for-30 for 216 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
His second touchdown blew the game open.
With the Steelers training 20-10 in the third quarter, Roethlisberger hit WR Mike Wallace on a crossing pattern. Wallace accelerated around the edge and outran the Giants defense for a 51-yard touchdown pass.
It was Wallace's fifth touchdown of the season, finishing the game with three catches and 66 yards.
Plays like that, and a general physical dominance over the Giants defense perhaps compelled Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to go for a fake field goal on fourth and one from the Giants' three yard line. An over-the-head flip from holder Drew Butler to kicker Shaun Suisham led to a one-yard loss.
It was at that point the Steelers defense began their string of nine consecutive plays without yielding a first down. They were able to suffocate the Giants' passing attack down the stretch, leading to the win.
Pittsburgh hosts drowning Kansas City on Monday Night Football in Week 10, looking to win their fourth consecutive game.