Steelers safety Miles Killebrew’s blocked punt against the Baltimore Ravens once again showed how important special teams are when it comes to swinging the momentum of a game. Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic special teams moments from throughout Steelers history.
Reggie Harrison’s Super Bowl safety
The Steelers were down three in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl X. Mitch Hooper was punting for the Cowboys, when Reggie Harrison (now named Kamal Salaam-El) blocked his kick, causing the ball to roll out of the end zone. It gave the Steelers a safety, cutting Dallas’ lead to 10-9, and shifting the game’s momentum in favor of the black and gold.
1/18/76 - Super Bowl X: Dal vs Pit— Steel City Star (@steelcitystar) October 4, 2018
11:56 left. Dal lead 10-7
Reggie Harrison blocks Hoopes’ punt for a safety. So many great special teams plays by Dallas, yet this is the one that changes the game. Worth noting that special teams is responsibility of assistant coach Mike Ditka. pic.twitter.com/L8qk5324u8
Chidi Iwuoma helps to save the season
It was Week 17, 2005. Pittsburgh was home against Detroit. The Steelers had been in win-or-go-home mode all month and needed a victory to make it to the post-season as the final wild card team. With 2:50 left in the first half and the game tied at 14, Chidi Iwuoma forced a fumble on an Eddie Drummond punt return. Brett Keisel would recover, and four plays later, RB Jerome Bettis gave the Steelers a lead that they would never relinquish. A month later, Pittsburgh took home their fifth “Sticky Lombardi.”
Miles Killebrew keeps the Bills on the ropes
The Steelers were 6.5-point underdogs when they came to Highmark Stadium in Week 1 of the 2021 season. With 9:50 left in the fourth quarter, they were clinging to a 13-10 lead. Matt Haack attempted his fifth punt of the game, but Miles Killebrew forced his way through for the block. Ulysses Gilbert III scooped it up for the game-clinching touchdown.
Film Room: Breaking down Miles Killebrew's punt block. Like a defense, this is all about confusing the Bills' protection. Johnson/Allen/Killebrew twist and Killebrew gets free up the A gap.https://t.co/d4BBdWJ2G1 pic.twitter.com/TqhyI6BKRP— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) September 13, 2021
Big Red bullies the Browns
Pittsburgh invited the Browns to Heinz Field for Week 1, 2017. On the first possession of the game, Tyler Matakevich blocked the punt, and Anthony Chickillo recovered the ball in the end zone to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead. It would be a difference maker in the 21-18 game, as Cleveland held the Steelers offense to just two scoring drives from tight end Jesse James.
Minkah Fitzpatrick says there are no gimmes
Who could forget Week 1 of the 2022 season? The Bengals were going for the game-winning extra point, when Minkah Fitzpatrick blocked the kick from Evan McPherson, sending the game to overtime where the Steelers would ultimately win with a Chris Boswell 53-yard field goal.
T.J. Watt saves a tie
It was Week 1, 2018 in Cleveland. The score was tied 21-21 with 13 seconds left in overtime. Zane Gonzalez lined up for the 43-yard game-winner, but second-year player T.J. Watt got a piece of the ball to prevent the loss and salvage a tie.
Cam Heyward vs. Adam Vinatieri
Pittsburgh was home against the Colts in Week 9 of the 2019 season. The Steelers were down 16-10 in the second quarter. Adam Vinatieri lined up for an easy extra point, but it was blocked by Cam Heyward. It would become crucial in the fourth, as the Colts tried to make up the point by going for two when they took a 24-23 lead. That meant the Steelers only needed a Boswell field goal to regain the lead 26-24. It also didn’t hurt that Vinatieri also missed from 43 yards out.
Fred McAfee finds the end zone
It was Week 8, 1998 in Kansas City. The Steelers’ first drive resulted in a punt that Lance Brown downed at the 1-yard line. Three plays later, Brown blocked the Kansas City punt and Fred McAfee recovered the ball in the end zone to give Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead. Those points became very necessary as the Steelers won 20-13.