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Holmes catch could be the most Super

TAMPA, Fla. - David Tyree made a Super Bowl catch last season that most felt would never be bettered.

Santonio Holmes came close last night.

Not bad for a receiver whose most memorable plays this season came as a punt returner.

Showing incredible deftness, the third-year receiver from Ohio State dragged both toes in the right corner of the end zone on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger with 35 seconds left that proved the game-winner in Super Bowl XLIII.

Holmes caught nine passes for 131 yards -- his first 100-yard game of the season -- and a touchdown to earn game MVP honors. Holmes' teammate, Hines Ward, was the last receiver to win Super Bowl MVP, doing so three years ago when the Steelers beat the Seahawks.

"I knew my toes were on the ground the whole time," Holmes said. "Once I extended my arms and my body, everything just flowed right together. I never left the ground."

His catch was the talk in both locker rooms.

"He went out and just made a heck of a grab," Roethlisberger said.

"It was a great throw and catch," Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle said. "He stepped up big for them like he did all postseason."

That was especially true last night as the Steelers' receiving star, Hines Ward, was still gimpy from the knee injury he suffered during the AFC Championship Game against Baltimore.

Ward had a 38-yard grab on the second play of the game but he was clearly limited, finishing with two catches for 43 yards.

But the Steelers' offense didn't miss a beat as Holmes, whose punt return for a TD helped the Steelers beat the Chargers in the divisional round and whose catch-and-run for a TD against the Ravens proved crucial in that game, stepped forward.

He caught four passes on the final drive, with his 40-yard reception setting up the Steelers' first-and-goal at the 6 with 49 seconds left. Two plays later, the Steelers were in the end zone. Holmes also caught passes of 14 and 13 yards on the drive.

"I dared the team," Holmes said of a brief sideline speech he made after Larry Fitzgerald's 64-yard TD catch with 2:37 left put the Cardinals ahead 23-20. "I came up and told Ben that I want to be the guy. I wanted to win this game for you guys, man. Just give me the ball, give me a chance to make plays and I will do it for you."

Roethlisberger said the scoring pass that went to Holmes was supposed to go to Ward.

"He wasn't open," Roethlisberger said. "I scrambled right a little bit and saw 'Tone' in the corner and decided to just throw it high, because either he was going to catch it, or no one was going to catch it. Luckily, he made a heck of a play."

"Big-time players make big-time plays in this type of game," linebacker James Farrior said. "We're world champs because of that play."


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