New series we’re kicking off to pass the time during football’s offseason. Taking a look at the top ten effort plays in Pittsburgh Steelers’ history. Bit of a niche category but these are the moments where a player showed the fight or hustle no one expected.
I’m sure there are plenty I’ve missed so let me know your selections in the comments below. We’ll take this series two at a time, counting down the top ten until we reach #1. Check out the links for #7-10. Today, we’re talking about #5 and #6.
#6 – Troy Polamalu Does Troy Polamalu Things (2005)
Troy Polamalu’s effort plays always felt so effortless. He could make plays no one else on the field was capable of. There’s a million examples of that and frankly, better feats of athleticism, but this play combined effort with his freaky ability.
It’s the 2005 AFC Title Game. Steelers in Denver (where they shot Joey Porter). Pittsburgh jumps out to a 10-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter. Broncos have the ball on 3rd and 9, tossing a screen to Tatum Bell. He has nothing but open grass, an easy first down, and probably a lot after that.
Then Troy showed up.
He comes screaming across the field, defeats two linemen out in front, and makes an unbelievable shoestring tackle. Yes, Bell was stopped short of the sticks though full disclosure, Denver converted on 4th and inches. Still, heck of an effort that showcased #43’s drive and athleticism.
With Troy Polamalu snubbed from the NFL's All-Time team, here's my pick for most jaw-dropping play he ever made. Not the most impactful, there's at least a dozen of those ahead of this one, but peak "no one else could make this play" moment. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/qu8zHGWpch
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) December 7, 2019
#5 – The Immaculate Extension (2016)
Antonio Brown grabs the #5 spot partly for the effort but partly for the magnitude of the play. This clinched the AFC North for Pittsburgh in 2016. Had they lost this crazy game to Baltimore, the Steelers wouldn’t have been in control of their destiny, hoping for a Ravens’ Week 17 loss instead.
Brown took a four yard slant and found the strength to run through CJ Mosley and Eric Weddle, stretching over the goal line before getting pushed back. Sidenote, I love Ramon Foster’s effort to bulldoze AB over the goal line. Nice form tackle.
At most, Brown got his weight in the 190-195 range. Those guys shouldn’t be able to hold up against safeties and linebackers. But Brown had excellent strength, pound for pound he was very strong, and on this play, combined it with one heck of an effort to win the game.