Steelers Throwback Thursday: Rashard Mendenhall’s walk-off TD in OT

Steel City Underground presents “Steelers Throwback Thursday” featuring plays from recent seasons which you may have forgotten about! Now we’re “bringing them back!”

The 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers season opened up with a lot of change – creating comparisons to this upcoming 2019 season. Therefore, there was a lot of uncertainty going into their first game of the season: a home opener at Heinz Field against the Atlanta Falcons.

That uncertainty came with expectations of doing better than the previous 2009 season, where the Steelers finished with a 9-7 record, but failed to win the AFC North and thus missed the postseason. Transition was in order as players and coaches were let go, and they traded, a year removed, a Super Bowl MVP in Santonio Holmes.

Ben Roethlisberger entered the season suspended for the first four games, opening the door for young quarterback prospect Dennis Dixon to start in Week 1.

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The back-and-forth game was not an easy one to watch. The Steelers offense came out and scored first off of a Jeff Reed field goal, but the remainder of the game for both teams was marred by a plethora of field goals, punts and turnovers. In fact, both sides missed a field goal attempt in the game and there was no ultimate result after four quarters, leading the teams to play overtime.

That’s when the game’s only touchdown would be scored… but not before Atlanta received the ball first, a death knell for opponents in an era of sudden death OT.

However, the Steelers defense stood tall, holding the Falcons to a mere five-play drive before they were forced to punt it back to Pittsburgh. Starting at their own 50-yard line, the Steelers were poised to win the contest, and it appeared they were more than prepared to allow run game do the heavy lifting as to not put pressure on their young passer.

Lining up on first down, the snap was handled by Dixon, how then handed off to Rashard Mendenhall, who had previously struggled to gain much ground on his previous 21 carries (70 yards, 3.3 yards per carry).

This time, Mendenhall would finally break free with a nice lead block by TE David Johnson.

Mendenhall would be nearly tripped up but like a cat, kept his balance as he sprinted the remaining distance into the endzone and give the Steelers a victory to start their 2010 campaign.

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