GLENDALE, Ariz. - In the long history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, there has never been a pass like it, and the play set the tone for a big day.
Ben Roethlisberger threw 95 yards to Mike Wallace for the franchise’s longest pass play and Pittsburgh went on to hand the Arizona Cardinals their fifth consecutive loss, 32-20, yesterday.
Roethlisberger, 26 of 39 for 361 yards, also had TD passes of 12 yards to Heath Miller and 4 yards to Emmanuel Sanders in the first game between the teams since Pittsburgh’s 27-23 thriller over the Cardinals in the 2009 Super Bowl.
Kevin Kolb threw a pair of touchdown passes for Arizona (1-5), his first in three games, but missed several open receivers and, with a blitzing LaMarr Woodley in his face, drew an intentional-grounding call in the Cardinals’ end zone for a safety.
Pittsburgh (5-2) won its third straight and improved to 2-2 on the road.
Shaun Suisham kicked field goals of 41, 42, and 39 yards for the Steelers.
The big play from Roethlisberger to Wallace, cheered on by a crowd that included a generous and boisterous bunch of Steelers fans, came in the second quarter after an Arizona drive stalled at the Steelers’ 39 and Dave Zastudil’s 30-yard punt pinned Pittsburgh on its 9-yard line. A false start pushed it back to the Steelers’ 5.
On the next play, Roethlisberger dropped back and lofted a pass down the sideline toward Wallace, who had beaten cornerback Richard Marshall.
Wallace caught the ball in stride, breaking free of a pair of would-be tacklers along the way, and raced to the end zone for the score that made it 14-0 with 8:09 left in the half.
The previous longest pass play was 90 yards, first set by Terry Bradshaw to Mark Malone against Seattle in 1981, then matched by Bubby Brister to Dwight Stone against Denver in 1990 and Kordell Stewart to Bobby Shaw vs. Baltimore in 2001.
It was the second-longest play from scrimmage ever for the Pittsburgh franchise. Only Bobby Gage’s 97-yard run against Chicago in 1949 was longer.
The Steelers rolled for 445 yards in a successful warm-up to Sunday’s home showdown against New England. The Cardinals find their season on the brink of disaster. Arizona plays four of its next five on the road, where it has lost 10 straight.