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REPLAY: Steelers defense tames rookie Joe Flacco to get his trip to the Super Bowl

On a road full of shocks, Steelers reach their seventh trip to the Super Bowl by beating the Ravens 23-14, in a game that will be used almost like a textbook, for future defensive backs entering the league.

The 2008 AFC Championship will be remembered as a football classic, full of hard blows and with Ben Roethlisberger leading the Pittsburgh offense to the biggest Sunday in the NFL.

When Baltimore was getting ready to spread its wings and fly to take over the closing minutes of the clock, Troy Polamalu rose as the hero of the Iron Curtain, intercepting a pass and returning it 40 yards to end the Ravens’ aspirations.

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Steelers head to Tampa Bay to play in two weeks against the Arizona Cardinals, NFC champions in Super Bowl XLIII.

The Pittsburgh defense took it upon himself to harass Joe Flacco throughout the game as he tried to become the first rookie quarterback to lead a team to the Super Bowl. Normally unflappable, he looked lost and finished with just 13 completions of the 30 he attempted for a 141-yard gain and three costly interceptions.

Roethlisberger, intercepted four times by New England when he led the Steelers to the AFC Championship game in his rookie year, this time against Ravens he completed 16 of 33 attempts for 255 yards and, most importantly, no interceptions.

It showed how much experience is needed in such an important match.

True to his habit of spreading plays, Roethlisberger lHe managed to find Santonio Holmes on a 65-yard connection, when seconds before the call could end in yardage losses.

After Polamalu’s interception with less than five minutes in the final period that sealed the game, the game was halted as Baltimore running back Willis McGahee took a heavy hit from safety Ryan Clark.

Only the Steelers, 49ers and Cowboys have won five Super Bowls, and Pittsburgh may be the first to win six. If the Steelers beat Arizona, Tomlin, 36, would be the youngest coach to win an NFL championship..

The Steelers proved that it is possible to beat a good team three times in one season. No one gets past these Steelers a tough, hard-hitting team with the best defense in the NFL, statistically at least.

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