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Five Moments That Defined the Steelers Season

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Sixteen games. Countless snaps. But every season has a few of those moments -- plays, injuries, touchdowns or turnovers -- that help shape the course of a football season.

The Steelers had an up and down season in 2015. A rough start in Foxborough was smoothed over by a pair of wins over the 49ers and Rams, but those good feelings were stunted when an injury to Ben Roethlisberger -- and a bevy of missed field goals and extra points -- led to a loss in Baltimore. A two-game winning streak over the Chargers and Cardinals gave way to a two-game losing streak against Kansas City and Cincinnati. A pair of wins  over the Raiders and Browns righted the ship but a loss in Seattle was yet another cause for concern. Finally, the Steelers finished strong with four wins in their final five games.

Here are five moments that helped define the Steelers rocky 2015 campaign.

Big Ben Goes Down in Week 3: In the second half against the St. Louis Rams, Roethlisberger suffered a knee injury and was helped to the sideline. He would eventually be carted to the locker room, and was later determined to have suffered an MCL sprain in his left knee. With Pittsburgh’s offense arguably headed toward record-setting numbers, Roethlisberger missed four games, but the Steelers managed to go 2-2 in his absence.

The Bell Rings in San Diego in Week 5: Trailing 20-17 with five seconds left, the Steelers were facing a first and goal from the one-yard line. A field goal would send the game to overtime, but that wasn’t what Tomlin had in mind. The Steelers opted to go for the win, only it was an unorthodox approach to gain the final yard. Rather than a quarterback sneak or a halfback dive, Bell lined up in the wildcat formation, took a direct snap and darted off left tackle, stretching the ball across the plane for the score and the win.

Ben Comes of the Bench in Week 10: Losing a backup quarterback can be a significant blow, forcing a team to dig to the back of the depth chart at a position that does not typically have an abundance of depth. However, when your backup for the game is Steelers Ben Roethlisbergerthe Ben Roethlisberger, an injury may not spell complete disaster. Recovering from a foot sprain a week earlier against Oakland, Roethlisberger was cleared to play but entered the game as Jones’ backup. When Jones was injured on a first quarter field goal drive, Roethlisberger entered the game—still considerably limited by the foot injury—and threw for 379 yards and three touchdowns to guide the Steelers to a 30-9 victory over the Browns.

Loss to Baltimore in Week 16: The Steelers playoff formula was simple: win and get in. The teams final two opponents, Baltimore and Cleveland, had less than 10 wins combined. However, the Steelers looked sluggish in all aspects of the game in the 20-17 loss to the lowly Ravens. In the span of 20 minutes, Pittsburgh went from one of the NFL’s hottest teams to a team hanging on by a thread.

James Harrison's Super Bowl Imitation in Week 17: In a must-win situation against Cleveland, the Browns were threatening to take the lead early in the third quarter. On a third-and-goal play, Harrison stepped in front of an Austin Davis pass for the interception – a play eerily similar to the veteran linebacker’s Super Bowl XLII interception. The pick eventually turned into a Chris Boswell field goal to extend Pittsburgh’s lead to 17-9. The Steelers capitalized off several other Browns turnovers in the second half and put the game away. The final score was 28-12, with Harrison’s interception being the play of the game – and possibly the season.

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