The Steelers trailed Baltimore 21-7 at halftime of their divisional playoff game last Saturday. But the first sign of a comeback in the third quarter spurred the towel-waving horde of 68,879 fans to rocket-launch levels of sound, and the Steelers rode the sound waves to a 31-24 victory to advance to the AFC title game against the Jets Sunday at Heinz Field.
"That had to be a legendary game," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday. "I haven't seen many of those in Heinz Field personally. But man, that was an instant classic as far as I'm concerned. Boy, we anticipate it being a similar environment this week, and we're going to need that support from our fans."
As the AFC's second seed, the Steelers might have expected to hit the road to face New England at Gillette Stadium, but the Jets' 28-21 win put Pittsburgh at home with a chance to advance to the Super Bowl. "It doesn't change your approach," Tomlin said. "When you're at home, you appreciate the fact you're home sleeping in your own bed, and being home 20 minutes or so after you walk out of the stadium.
"We enjoy the support of our crowd, but inside the white lines, the team that makes the critical plays at the critical moments is going to win. Home is not the deciding factor. The Jets have proven that emphatically over the last several weeks. [With playoff wins at Indy and New England plus a 6-2 regular-season road record, including a 22-17 win Dec. 19 at Heinz. "But if given a choice, we'd rather play at Heinz Field in front of our fans…So, we're going to give them what they've got coming to them."