A season that began with their starting quarterback serving a suspension will end with a trip to Dallas and Super Bowl XLV. The Pittsburgh Steelers won their 8th AFC Championship Game, beating the New York Jets 24-19 at Heinz Field.
The Steelers, who led 24-0 late in the first half, saw the Jets respond with a furious rally that fell just short when Ben Roethlisberger found wide receiver Antonio Brown on 3rd and 6 just after the 2 minute warning. The first down sealed the win for Pittsburgh, with the Jets having used all of their timeouts.
The Steelers appeared to be on their way to a blowout early on, scoring the game's first 24 points, including a 19-yard fumble recovery in the 2nd quarter. The Jets, however, refused to quit. After netting just 50 total yards in the first half, the Jets exploded for 239 yards in the 2nd half, and actually outgained the Steelers for the game 289-287.
Mark Sanchez was 20/33 for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns. He played particularly well in the 2nd half. For the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger's numbers didn't look good - 10/19, 133 yards and 2 interceptions, but, as always, when his team needed a play - be it on the ground or through the air, Ben came through.
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall had over 100 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 121 yards on 27 carries. The Steelers finished with 166 yards rushing.