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Throwback Thursday: Steelers tame Jake 'The Snake' in 2005 AFC Championship Game

The Pittsburgh Steelers had to go through the Denver Broncos to get that "one for the thumb", and what a trip to Denver it was for the black and gold.

"They shot me in Denver!"

Those words uttered by former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Joey Porter will forever live on when fans reference the 2005 Steelers who were able to not just get to Super Bowl XL, but to win it in improbable fashion. The Steelers, as the 6th seed, had already gone through the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts to face Jake Plummer and the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game. As the game would unfold, the Steelers were a team of destiny, and far too much for the Broncos to handle on that day.

After a slow start to the game, the Steelers led 3-0 after the first quarter, but it was the second quarter which saw Pittsburgh post 21 points to take a 24-3 lead into halftime. The Steelers wouldn't score another point until the 4th quarter, but by that time the game was already out of reach. The final score read 34-17, but this game was about the stout Pittsburgh defense, and the maturation of a young Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers didn't run the ball particularly well in this contest. Jerome Bettis had 15 carries for 39 yards, and Willie Parker chipped in 14 carries for 35 yards. Nonetheless, the Steelers scored two rushing touchdowns on the day, a Bettis plunge into the endzone and a Roethlisberger scramble to pay dirt. Despite the lack of a running game, Roethlisberger was incredibly efficient through the air. He was 21-29 with 275 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. It would be his crowning achievement before his dreadful performance in the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks.

The defense did more than enough to secure the team's spot in the big dance. They were able to force Plummer into 2 interceptions, and caused 2 fumbles as they sacked the Broncos' signal caller 3 times and ended his day with a 66.4 quarterback rating.

It was a complete team victory for the Steelers, and one where the team showed no signs of stopping until they brought the organization's 5th Lombardi trophy back to the Steel City. From, "They shot me in Denver!" to "We are going home!" as Jerome Bettis planned for his final game in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. I think we all remember how that game ended.

Have an extra 3 hours to kill? You can watch the entire 2005 AFC Championship game below. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.