After a game dominated by field goals for the first three quarters, QB Drew Brees tossed two touchdowns and DB Leigh Torrence intercepted QB Ben Roethlisberger's final pass to give the Saints a 20-10 victory in the Superdome Sunday night.
Brees finished the game by completing 34 of his 44 attempts for 305 yards along with his two touchdown strikes. RB Julius Jones led the Saints with 16 yards on seven carries. WR Lance Moore led all Saints wideouts with seven receptions for 54 yards and a score. WR Marques Colston notched six receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. Meachem added six catches for 76 yards.
On defense, LBs Scott Shanle and Jonathan Vilma tied for a team-best eight tackles.
The Saints outdueled the Steelers in total net yards by a 318-279 margin.
The contest started with a touchback into the end zone by Hartley. With Pittsburgh starting from their 20-yard line, the Steelers got their a first down with a nine-yard pass from Roethlisberger to RB Rashard Mendenhall followed by a four-yard rush by the runner. However, following that first down, the Steelers would only get past their 37-yard line and Steelers P Daniel Sepulveda was forced to punt, where it was called at the New Orleans 25-yard line for a fair catch by Moore.
Brees opened up with a five-yard pass to Meachem. The Saints got a first down, when he then completed an 11-yard throw to Jones. However, New Orleans would not get past their 43-yard line and the punting unit came out, where Thomas Morstead booted a 47-yard kick, where it was called for a fair catch at Pittsburgh's ten-yard line.
Pittsburgh would get a first down immediately on a carry for a gain of 15 yards by RB Issac Redman. Following an incompletion by Roethlisberger, DE Will Smith and Vilma stopped Mendenhall for a one-yard loss on second down, forcing Pittsburgh to call a timeout due to crowd noise before the third down. On third-and-11, Roethlisberger was taken down for a sack by S Pierson Prioleau and Smith. Pittsburgh was forced to punt and Moore had a 17-yard return. Following a challenge by Pittsburgh, who challenged that he fumbled and the ball and they recovered, where the ruling on the field was confirmed that Moore was down by contact, New Orleans took the ball at their 49-yard line with the Steelers using up their second timeout of the half.
On the series' first play, Brees completed a nine-yard pass to TE David Thomas to the Steeler 42. Brees threw a pass to Thomas on second and one for no gain as he was tackled by Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley. On third and one, New Orleans finally made their first rushing attempt of the game and RB Chris Ivory was stopped by LBs James Farrior and Lawrence Timmons for no gain. With head coach Sean Payton deciding to try to convert the first down, Ivory succeeded on the next try with a six-yard gain and the first down. With a fresh set of downs, Jones was stopped on first down for a loss to three by Timmons. On second down, Brees completed a pass for a gain of eight yards to Moore. With a third and five play, Brees faced a rush and was forced to quickly dump off for an incompletion. Following an unsportsmanlike penalty on Jones, Morstead punted from the Saints 46, where the Steelers called for a fair catch at their ten.
Tulane alum Mewelde Moore carried on Pittsburgh's first play of their series for an 18-yard gain. With a fresh first down, Shanle, snuffed out a screen to WR Hines Ward and only allowed for a one-yard gain. Moore carried on second down for no gain. On third down, Roethlisberger was forced to throw to the middle of the field upon a rush, where his receivers were covered forcing them to punt again, where Moore called for a fair catch at the New Orleans 18-yard line. However, New Orleans would be unable to convert a first down and Pittsburgh WR Emmanuel Sanders returned a punt 38 yards to the New Orleans 44 before being run down by WR Courtney Roby.
With favorable field position, Roethlisberger complete da throw to the 35-yard line to TE David Johnson before time expired in the first quarter. Following the start of the second quarter, the Steelers would get on the scoreboard first by finishing a drive that spanned ten plays and 43 yards. New Orleans was stuck at the six inch line, following a successful challenge by Payton for a pass from Roethlisberger to WR Antwan Randle El that was initially ruled a touchdown. On first and goal, New Orleans defenders then stopped Pittsburgh on three straight rushing plays inside the two-yard line to force K Jeff Reed to kick a field goal.
Getting the ball back at their 26, New Orleans faced a third and six, following a three-yard rush by Ivory and a pass from Brees to Meachem for one-yard, before Brees found Colston for a first down, down the right side line for a 13-yard gain at their 43. With a fresh set of downs, Brees did a play action fake, intended for FB Heath Evans, but the fullback was unable to hang on to the throw. On second down, Brees found Jones in traffic for a loss of four. On third and 14, New Orleans went out with three wides and Brees found WR Devery Henderson for a 13-yard gain, just short of the first down marker. Morstead's punt was for 38 yards and Randle El called for a fair catch at Pittsburgh's ten-yard line.
With Pittsburgh with the ball back, Roethlisberger handed off to Mendenhall on first down and Shanle and DL Anthony Hargrove stopped him for no gain. On second and ten, the Steelers signal caller found New Orleans native WR Mike Wallace for a 21-yard gain. Mendenhall carried for a three-yard gain before he was stopped by LB Danny Clark on first down. On second down, a throw by Roethlisberger was broken by DB Malcolm Jenkins on coverage. On third down, Roethlisberger was taken down by Smith with 2:36 left for a six-yard loss, which would force Pittsburgh to punt. New Orleans called a timeout before the punt to preserve an offensive play before the two minute warning. When the kick finally came, Moore called for a fair catch at the New Orleans 18-yard line.
However on first down, Brees was sacked by Steelers LB James Harrison for a loss of ten yards with the two-minute warning then coming into play. With second and 20, Brees threw an interception to Steelers CB Ike Taylor on a pass intended for Henderson, which he returned to the Saints 36 before he was taken down by Moore.
Roethlisberger moved in the pocket on first down and Jenkins broke up a throw intended for Randle El inside the end zone. On second down, Roethlisberger completed a 13-yard pass to Wallace. With a fresh set of downs and 1:37 on the clock, Roethlisberger threw into the end zone to Ward, but he was called for offensive pass interference on the play, bringing Pittsburgh back to the New Orleans 33. Roethlisberger's pass was broken up by Smith at the line of scrimmage on first and 20. The Pittsburgh signal caller threw and incompletion on second down and his third down pass was broken up by Vilma, forcing Reed back onto the field for a 51-yard field goal attempt that was no good.
With 1:11 left on the clock, Brees completed a nine-yard pass to Shockey at the middle of the field and then found Henderson at the Pittsburgh 37, where he stepped out of bounds. After losing ten yards on a holding call and facing first and 20 at the Pittsburgh 47, Colston got ahead of Steelers CB William Gay for a 27-yard gain. With first and ten at the 20-yard line, Brees' throw intended for Shockey was broken up by Steelers S Ryan Clark. On second down, RB Ladell Betts carried for a seven-yard gain. However, New Orleans was unable to convert and Hartley would come onto the field for a 25-yard attempt that he put through the uprights to tie the score before the end of the first half.
Roby took the opening runback of the second half up the field for a 39-yard gain to the New Orleans 44. Brees first completed a pass for a 13-yard gain to Jones. On second down, Brees found Moore for an 18-yard gain, Jones ran for an 11-yard gain into the red zone at the Pittsburgh 14. New Orleans move inside the ten on successive passes to Colston and Moore, getting a first down, on a third-and-one throw to Evans. With first and goal at the three, Ivory took the carry and was brought back one-yard by Farrior. On second down though, Steelers S Troy Polamalu was called for pass interference on a play near the goal line as New Orleans would advance to the one. On first and goal from the one, Brees' pass to T Zach Strief as an eligible tight end was ruled incomplete and then Ivory was stopped for a three yard loss by Steelers DL Chris Hoke on second down and Betts was stopped on third by Timmons, forcing Hartley to the field where he successfully executed a 23-yard field goal.
On Hartley's kickoff, Hargrove forced the ball out of Sanders' hands on the return, but it was picked up by a Pittsburgh return team member with the Steelers starting at their 40. On first down, Mendenhall was stopped for no gain by DE Alex Brown. On second down, Roethlisberger completed a nine-yard pass to Randle El and Redman carried for five yards for a first down. However on the next first down play Pittsburgh T Jonathan Scott was called for holding, bringing Pittsburgh back to their 44. Three plays later on third and 17 from the 47, Pittsburgh was forced to call a timeout due to the noise. On the play, Roethlisberger completed a pass to Randle El, setting up fourth and five from the 41. With the Steelers going for it, their signal caller's throw was broken up near the Saints sideline by Jenkins.
Getting the ball back, New Orleans faced a third and nine after an incomplete pass and a throw to Meachem that garnered one yard. But, Brees went back to the 2007 first round draft pick and he found him in the middle of the field in Pittsburgh territory for a first down. On first down, Brees handed off to Colston, who when failing to find a receiver downfield, slid for a one yard gain. On second down, Jones carried for a four-yard gain, setting up third and five. On third down, Brees completed a clutch throw to Shockey for a gain of 14, setting up first down at the 27 as time expired in the third quarter. Three plays later, New Orleans jumped to a ten-point lead when Brees found Colston for a 16-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone.
Pittsburgh started their drive at the 32, with Roethlisberger completing two straight passes to bring the Steelers past midfield. Roethlisberger then completed a screen to Wallace for a nine-yard gain before he was stopped by Vilma. At second and one, Mendenhall got around the corner and used good blocking for a 38-yard scoring run to put the Steelers back within three points.
The previous two Super Bowl champs went scoreless for the next eight minutes before Brees found Moore in the middle of the endzone to push the Saints' advantage to 20-10 with 2:37 left in the game.
On Pittsburgh's final drive, Roethlisberger led the Steelers to their 44-yard line when on first and 10 Torrence picked off No. 7 and ran it back 21 yards to seal the Saints Halloween victory.