Was sifting through the old Steelers Depot vault (aka old YouTube clips) last night and came across this terrific gem of Hines Ward.
2005 against the Baltimore Ravens. Ward is tied up in tight man coverage against Chris McAllister, the ball gets batted, Ward grabs it off the tip, and is nailed by the safety. But Ward holds on, picks up the first down, and pops back up to signal the sticks moving.
John Madden said it perfectly.
“Hines Ward is one of the few guys who can take a hit like that, bounce up like that, and smile.”
Couldn’t have said it any better.
If you’re wondering, the Steelers went on to win the game 20-19, Jeff Reed kicking the game-winning 37 yard field goal with 90 seconds left. Ward was Pittsburgh’s leading receiver, grabbing eight passes for 75 yards. But none were as impressive as the one you see above.
None of this is surprising to Steelers’ fans who watched Ward’s career. He was impossible to rattle. He was the fly in the ointment for defense’s, the dude who always annoyed you, the receiver who wasn’t a diva and loved the game’s physicality (as Ed Reed found out in 2007).
Ward’s tenacity was the perfect embodiment of Steelers vs Ravens. All the cliches apply: Old-school. Hard-nosed. A war of attrition. When you were facing Ward, when you were facing the Steelers, you were in for a fight. This play sums it up as well as almost any other.