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Bad Beats

   by Ben Burns - 02/02/2009

Admit it. Pittsburgh and the under were the rights sides of the Super Bowl.

That’s not a lot of solace for anyone who played the Steelers -7 and / or under 46.5.

In fact, those tickets are as worthless as the majority of the Super Bowl commercials. (Lame.)

But there shouldn’t be a single "I told you so" from anyone who bet the Cardinals and the over.

Twice, the Steelers were unable to punch it in from inside the Arizona five-yard line. So much for that hard-nose, physical Pittsburgh brand of football.

On the opening possession, Ben Roethlisberger’s 21-yard completion to Heath Miller set up a first and goal at the Cardinals’ one-yard line. The Steelers settled for a field goal, after a challenge correctly took away Roethlisberger third-down scramble that was initially ruled a touchdown.

It happened again in the third quarter, with the Steelers leading 17-7.

A penalty on Arizona’s Adrian Wilson gave Pittsburgh a 1st and goal at the four. Three plays later, Steeler backers had to watch Jeff Reed trot out for a field goal that kept the Cardinals within one score of covering.

But while Steelers backers were grimacing with each goal-line failure, under players were wearing an ear-to-ear grin.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh led 20-7. Larry Fitzgerald had just one catch, and the Steelers appeared to be in protect-the-lead mode on offense.

Clearly, the under was in very good shape.

Eventually, Fitzgerald got loose. In the fourth quarter, the Cardinals began to attack the middle of the field against the Steelers’ two-deep safety defense. (What took so long?)

Fitzgerald caught four passes on Arizona’s 87-yard drive in the fourth quarter. His leaping one-yard touchdown grab capped the drive and made the score 20-14 with 7:33 to play.

Still, at that point, anyone who had the over would have gladly traded. Isn’t that the truest sign of a bad beat, if the eventual winning side would have switched sides with under 10 minutes to go?

Fitzgerald would score again, splitting Pittsburgh’s safeties for a 64-yard go-ahead touchdown with 2:37 to play.

That set up Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes’ heroics. The two hooked up on a six-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left to push the total over.

Possibly the worst part for those who had the under is knowing that it wasn’t Fitzgerald or Holmes that killed them; instead, it was an offensive lineman.

Pittsburgh center Justin Hartwig was flagged for holding in the end zone with 2:58 to play. It negated a first down completion to Holmes that would have put the Steelers in kneel-down mode.

Condolences: To those who bet the Cardinals at +110 to score last in the first half. Arizona scored with 8:34 left in the second quarter. The Cardinals then drove down to the Pittsburgh 2 with 10 seconds left in the half. If Arizona settles for a field goal or doesn’t score at all, Cardinals to score last was a winner … unless James Harrison picks off Kurt Warner and rumbles 100 yards, breaking tackles along the way, and scores a touchdown.

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