Troy Polamalu's interception return for a touchdown on Sunday night will long be remembered among the great moments in Steelers playoff history.
What may get overlooked was the play of Ben Roethlisberger.
The fifth-year quarterback didn't do anything spectacular, but his leadership without the team's top wide receiver was a big key in the Steelers' 23-14 win over the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game.
''[Roethlisberger] recognized the magnitude of the game, and he did what his team needed him to do,'' Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said afterward. ''He was very efficient and made great decisions. He was a special guy for us.''
Roethlisberger did not throw any interceptions - although Limas Sweed helped him out by knocking away a pass in the end zone - and he finished with 255 yards passing against the second-best defense in the NFL.
He finished with a QB rating of 84.8. Rookie Joe Flacco finished with a measly 18.2 rating for the Ravens.
Roethlisberger's biggest play came on an improvisation when he nearly threw a pass away but saw Santonio Holmes turn around at the last minutes. Holmes snagged the ball and turned it into a 65-yard touchdown.
''The one scramble for a touchdown was the one difference maker,'' Ravens safety Ed Reed said. ''You have to contain a quarterback like Roethlisberger. He's a great quarterback.''
The defense will get most of the credit - and it should - for the team's seventh AFC championship, but the Steelers wouldn't be making plans for Tampa, Fla., right now without ''Big Ben.''
Clark feeling fine
Steelers safety Ryan Clark didn't show any lingering effects after the game from his collision with Willie McGahee.
He joked on how he still remembered the words he was supposed to recite to the team doctor to show he was OK.
''I still remember them - maroon, bell and car,'' he said. ''I also can say, 'Tampa.'''
n The next time you hear someone say you have to be able to run the ball in the playoffs in January to win championships, remember this: The Steelers averaged 1.9 yards per carry on Sunday.
n Penn State will be represented by three players in the Super Bowl - Scott Paxson and Sean McHugh with the Steelers and Levi Brown with the Cardinals. Pitt has two players in the game - Larry Fitzgerald and Gerald Hayes with the Cards - and IUP has Jason Capizzi with the Steelers.
n After Feb. 1, the Steelers will have played three of the four NFC West teams in Super Bowls. It's ironic the only team they will have not faced, the 49ers, has enjoyed much more Super Bowl success than the other three.
Buck Frank can be reached at 946-7461 or firstname.lastname@example.org.