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Steelers get record 95-yard TD pass in 32-20 victory over slumping Cardinals
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) ' 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 on Sunday.
Roethlisberger, 25 of 38 for 340 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 into the Pittsburgh end zone 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 against Seattle in 1981, then matched by Bubby Brister to Dwight Stone against Denver in 1990 and Kordell Stewart to Bobby Shaw against 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.
Down 17-7 at the half, the Cardinals cut the lead to 17-14 with 9:26 left in the third quarter when Kolb threw short over the middle to LaRod Stephens-Howling and the 5-foot-7 back outran defenders on a 73-yard touchdown play.
The Steelers rolled for 424 yards in a successful warmup to next 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, beginning next Sunday at Baltimore.
The Cardinals have lost 10 straight road games, their past win at St. Louis in the 2010 season opener.
Kolb, acquired from Philadelphia then signed to a five-year, $63 million contract ' with $21 million guaranteed ' still is struggling with the Arizona offense at times.
Against the Steelers, he was 18 of 34 for 272 yards and two scores, with one interception.
The pick came after Arizona took the opening kickoff.
On first down from the Cardinals 27, Kolb threw to rookie tight end Rob Housler. The ball bounced off Housler's helmet into the arms of the Steelers' Ryan Clark, who returned the interception 10 yards to the Arizona 31.
Five plays later, Roethlisberger threw 12 yards to a wide open Miller for the touchdown.
After the stunning 95-yarder to Wallace, the Cardinals mounted their first scoring drive.
A pair of penalties against Ike Taylor, who played a physical defense ' usually against Larry Fitzgerald ' throughout the game, aided Arizona's 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Alfonso Smith's 1-yard run with 1:25 to play.
But aided by three penalties against the Arizona secondary ' two on Patrick Peterson ' the Steelers drove for a 41-yard field goal by Suisham as the half ended to boost Pittsburgh's lead to 17-7.
Arizona running back Beanie Wells rushed for 42 yards before leaving the game in the second quarter with a sprained right knee. Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward was carted off in the second half with an ankle injury.
Miller caught three passes to move ahead of Franco Harris for sixth in Steelers career receptions with 307.
Fitzgerald caught four passes for 78 yards.