The 2006 Pittsburgh Steelers season began with the team trying to improve on their 11–5 record from 2005 and trying to defend their Super Bowl XL championship.
- 1 Offseason
- 2 Regular season
- 2.1 Schedule
- 2.2 Game summaries
- 2.2.1 Week 1 (Thursday September 7, 2006): vs. Miami Dolphins
- 2.2.2 Week 2 (Monday September 18, 2006): at Jacksonville Jaguars
- 2.2.3 Week 3 (Sunday September 24, 2006): vs. Cincinnati Bengals
- 2.2.4 Week 4 (Sunday October 1, 2006): Bye Week
- 2.2.5 Week 5 (Sunday October 8, 2006): at San Diego Chargers
- 2.2.6 Week 6 (Sunday October 15, 2006): vs. Kansas City Chiefs
- 2.2.7 Week 7 (Sunday October 22, 2006): at Atlanta Falcons
- 2.2.8 Week 8 (Sunday October 29, 2006): at Oakland Raiders
- 2.2.9 Week 9 (Sunday November 5, 2006): vs. Denver Broncos
- 2.2.10 Week 10 (Sunday November 12, 2006): vs. New Orleans Saints
- 2.2.11 Week 11 (Sunday November 19, 2006): at Cleveland Browns
- 2.2.12 Week 12 (Sunday November 26, 2006): at Baltimore Ravens
- 2.2.13 Week 13 (Sunday December 3, 2006): vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 2.2.14 Week 14 (Thursday December 7, 2006): vs. Cleveland Browns
- 2.2.15 Week 15 (Sunday December 17, 2006): at Carolina Panthers
- 2.2.16 Week 16 (Sunday December 24, 2006): vs. Baltimore Ravens
- 2.2.17 Week 17 (Sunday December 31, 2006): at Cincinnati Bengals
- 3 Standings
- 4 References
On March 3, 2006, backup quarterback Tommy Maddox and cornerback Willie Williams (a member of the Super Bowl XL Steelers team) were released for salary cap reasons. Later on, the team lost wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen, and free safety Chris Hope to free agency, but picked up safety Ryan Clark from the Washington Redskins.
The team used the 2006 NFL draft to fill in the remaining holes on the depth chart. In the first round, Pittsburgh traded up to select Ohio St. wide receiver Santonio Holmes. Then, they used their next pick (acquired from the Vikings) on Syracuse Safety Anthony Smith. The rest of their picks included Florida St. wide receiver Willie Reid, Hofstra guard Willie Colon, Miami University (Fl.) defensive end Orien Harris, Bowling Green quarterback Omar Jacobs, Purdue tight end Charles Davis, California center Marvin Philip, and Virginia Tech running back Cedric Humes.
On June 2 members of the Super Bowl Champion Steelers were invited to the White House to meet the President Of The United States George Bush in a celebration to honor the Steelers' successful season.
Ben Roethlisberger 
In the offseason Ben Roethlisberger suffered a near death accident while riding his motorcycle in downtown Pittsburgh. He was not at fault, and an out of state vehicle failed to yield and hit him. Ben reportedly was moments away from dying due to a cut artery, however medics stopped the bleeding in time.
This set Ben back for training camp and the Preseason. However he did manage to play in part of the Preseason games.
Shortly after the Preseason however, Ben required an emergency appendectomy which caused him to miss the first game of the season. Between both of these events, Ben reportedly lost 15 pounds and was not up to form with the team due to lack of practice time and time spent in camp. His health early in the year is pointed to as the cause for a rough season. He experienced continued problems in the Atlanta Falcons game in Atlanta during the year. He was hit after throwing the ball by multiple defenders, one of which caused a helmet to helmet collision. Roethlisberger was diagnosed with a concussion and had to sit out the rest of the game and appeared to have difficulties in the next couple of games.
Regular season 
Game summaries 
Week 1 (Thursday September 7, 2006): vs. Miami Dolphins 
The Steelers opened the regular season in the annual Thursday NFL Kickoff game at home against the Miami Dolphins on September 7. The Steelers drew first blood in the second quarter with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington. After the Dolphins tied the game up on a 1 yard touchdown run by Ronnie Brown, Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward caught a 7-yard TD pass in the back of the end zone. After a Miami field goal, the Steelers led 14–10 at halftime. In the second half, Miami running back Ronnie Brown scored on a four yard touchdown run for the Dolphins' second touchdown in the third quarter. The Steelers rebounded as tight end Heath Miller caught an 87-yard pass for a touchdown and linebacker Joey Porter returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 28–17 victory. Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch completed 15 of 25 passes for 209 yards, and threw 3 touchdowns and no interceptions in the absence of Ben Roethlisberger for Pittsburgh, while the Dolphins' Daunte Culpepper completed 18 of 37 passes for 262 yards, with two interceptions (the first interception by Troy Polamalu, and the second to Joey Porter, who returned it for a touchdown) late in the fourth quarter. Batch dedicated the win to late Pittsburgh mayor Bob O'Connor, who was laid to rest earlier in the day. With the win, the Steelers improved to 1-0 and won their regular season opener for the 4th straight season. Stats
The Steelers traveled to play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday night on September 18. Despite not allowing a touchdown, the Steelers gave up three field goals to the Jaguars, with Kicker Josh Scobee making a 31, a 32, and a 41-yard field goal. The Steelers were defeated 9–0. It was the first time since 1985 that a defending Super Bowl champion team had been shut out, and it was the lowest scoring game in Monday Night Football history. With the loss, the Steelers fell to 1-1. Stats
The Steelers went back home for an AFC North fight against the Cincinnati Bengals. In the first quarter, running back Willie Parker scored on a 3-yard touchdown run. However, on the very first play of the second quarter, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception and Cincinnati was able to score shortly after with quarterback Carson Palmer completing a 16-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Henry. On Cincinnati's next drive, the Bengals scored on a three yard touchdown pass to Henry. In the third quarter, the Steelers rallied a comeback, as kicker Jeff Reed kicked a 37-yard field goal. Shortly after, Parker scored on a one yard touchdown run to give the Steelers a 17–14 lead. Pittsburgh's lead deteriorated as Ricardo Colclough muffed a punt, allowing the Bengals to recover. Carson Palmer then helped put Cincinnati ahead on 9-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Cincinnati was able to increase their lead when Pittsburgh's running back, Verron Haynes lost a fumble, allowing Palmer to complete a 30 yard touchdown pass to Houshmandzadeh on the next drive. Reed would help Pittsburgh out with a 36-yard field goal. On the very last drive, the Steelers tried to fight back and tie the game, but the game ended as Roethlisberger was intercepted by DB Kevin Kaesviharn, eliminating any hope of a comeback. The Steelers would head into their Week 4 Bye Week at 1–2. Stats
Week 4 (Sunday October 1, 2006): Bye Week 
Hoping to end their two-game skid, the Steelers traveled to Qualcomm Stadium for a Sunday Night match-up with the throwback-clad San Diego Chargers. Pittsburgh was able to capitalize early, as running back Willie Parker scored on a nine yard touchdown run for the only score of the first quarter. In the second quarter, kicker Jeff Reed kicked a 39-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 10–0 lead. The Chargers cut the lead to a field goal when quarterback Philip Rivers completed a 9-yard TD pass to WR Malcom Floyd. Reed would give Pittsburgh a 13–7 halftime lead with a 44-yard field goal. The Steelers continued their recent struggles in the third quarter, as Charger kicker Nate Kaeding kicked a 28-yard field goal, while Rivers completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Antonio Gates. In the fourth quarter, Kaeding sealed a Charger victory as he kicked a 33-yard and a 22-yard field. With their third-straight loss, the Steelers became the first team since the 1999 Denver Broncos to start a season 1–3 or 0–4 after winning a Super Bowl in the previous year. Stats
attempts to break an opponent's tackle during the Chiefs game.
The Steelers and Chiefs line up on the goal line
Hoping to end their three-game losing skid, the Steelers went home for a Week 6 battle with the Kansas City Chiefs, who were visiting Pittsburgh for the first time since 1989. Pittsburgh dominated the entire game, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 16 of 19 passes, with 238 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Willie Parker ran 21 times for 109 yards and 2 TD's, while running back Najeh Davenport ran 12 times for 78 yards and a TD. Wide receiver Nate Washington caught three passes for 68 yards and a touchdown, while receiver Hines Ward caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Kicker Jeff Reed nailed a 32-yard field goal for himself, while back-up LB Rian Wallace returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown. Chiefs running back Larry Johnson gave Kansas City their only score of the day on a two yard touchdown run. Pittsburgh broke its three-game losing streak and improved to 2–3. Stats
Week 7 (Sunday October 22, 2006): at Atlanta Falcons 
Hoping to build on their dominating win over the Chiefs, the Steelers flew to the Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons. In the first quarter, a Santonio Holmes fumble on a punt return helped set up quarterback Michael Vick's 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alge Crumpler. Afterwards, the Steelers took the lead with a 28-yard field goal by Jeff Reed and QB Ben Roethlisberger completing an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Hines Ward. In the second quarter, Roethlisberger completed a one yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller. A fumble by Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led to a second Vick touchdown pass to Crumpler. Then, a surprise onside kick recovered by the Falcons lead to Vick completing a 17-yard TD pass to receiver Michael Jenkins. The Steelers would respond with Roethlisberger completing a 10-yard touchdown pass to receiver Nate Washington. In the third quarter, things became grim for Pittsburgh. First, Roethlisberger was injured on a pass to Miller, which caused him to leave the game with a concussion. Second, Atlanta would retake the lead with running back Warrick Dunn completing a one yard touchdown run, which was started from a fumble by Willie Parker. The Steelers would respond as quarterback Charlie Batch completed a 70-yard touchdown pass to Ward. However, the Falcons would retake the lead with Vick and Crumpler hooking up with each other for a third touchdown pass, this time for 31 yards. In the fourth quarter, Atlanta kicker Morten Andersen nailed a 25-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 7-point lead. Pittsburgh would resond with a 17 yard touchdown pass to Ward, his third touchdown. Near the end of regulation, things got complicated for Atlanta on a field goal attempt. Kicker Michael Koenen nailed a 56-yard field goal, but it got negated due to a late Steelers time-out. Koenan would rekick it. It was no good, yet safety Troy Polamalu was called for running into the kicker. The Falcons would bring in kicker Andersen to make a 52-yard field goal, yet it came up short. On the following drive, the Steelers could not score after a controversial false start call with the Steelers in field goal range prompted a 10-second runoff, which ended regulation. In overtime the Falcons won the coin toss. Falcons kicker Morten Andersen, after a 11 play 65 yard drive, won the game with a 32-yard field goal and gave the Steelers their fourth loss of the season while they fell to 2-4. Stats
Week 8 (Sunday October 29, 2006): at Oakland Raiders 
Hoping to rebound from their loss to the Falcons, the Steelers flew to McAfee Coliseum to take on the Oakland Raiders. In the first quarter, Pittsburgh trailed early as Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown for the only score of the quarter. In the second quarter, Pittsburgh came within one point when kicker Jeff Reed kicked two field goals, a 29-yarder and a 39-yarder. Oakland responded with kicker Sebastian Janikowski kicking a 19-yard field goal. In the third quarter, Janikowski increased the Raiders lead with a 41-yard field goal for the only score of the quarter. In the fourth quarter Raiders defensive-back Chris Carr returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown. Pittsburgh would try and rally a comeback with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completing a 25-yard touchdown pass to running back Willie Parker. The Raiders were able to hold off the Steelers in the closing seconds of the game, earning a victory as the Steelers fell to 2-5. Stats
Despite the Steelers out-gaining the Raiders 360–98 in total offense, Roethlisberger threw four interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns), which led to Oakland's first back-to-back victory of the year.
Week 9 (Sunday November 5, 2006): vs. Denver Broncos 
Hoping to rebound from their two-game losing streak, the Steelers came back home to host the 5–2 Denver Broncos. Despite Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 433 yards and one touchdown, the Steelers had six fumbles and three interceptions in a 31–20 loss to the Broncos. The Steelers were trailing by four points at halftime, but in the third quarter, wide receiver Javon Walker scored on a 72-yard reverse to put the Broncos up 21–10. It looked like the Steelers would try to stage a comeback when receiver Hines Ward caught a pass and jumped towards the endzone, but the ball popped out and the Broncos recovered and were able to run out the clock. With a third-straight loss, the Steelers fell to 2–6. Stats
The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in a shoot out. Pittsburgh jumped to a 14–0 lead in the first quarter after Hines Ward caught a touchdown pass and when the Steelers capitalized on a Saints turnover with another touchdown pass to Heath Miller. Unfortunately for the Steelers, the Saints came marching back and took the lead with Reggie Bush's rush TD on the double reverse and pulled further ahead with a Deuce McAllister 4-yd TD run near the end of the half. A Reggie Bush fumble, a missed field goal, and Willie Parker's two 70+ yard runs set up two scores, which allowed the Steelers to come back and take the lead to win. The Steelers went to 3–6 with the win while the Saints fell to 6–3. Stats
Week 11 (Sunday November 19, 2006): at Cleveland Browns 
Hoping to build off their victory over the Saints, the Steelers flew to Cleveland Browns Stadium for Round 1 of the Rust Belt series with the Cleveland Browns. After a scoreless first quarter, the Steelers trailed as DB Daven Holly returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown. Afterwards, kicker Phil Dawson nailed a 23-yard field goal. In the third quarter, Pittsburgh would finally score as kicker Jeff Reed completed a 43-yard field goal for the only score of the quarter. In the fourth quarter, the reason for the rivalry told itself. Dawson would give Cleveland a 35-yard field goal, while the Steelers responded with QB Ben Roethlisberger completed a 20-yard TD pass to rookie WR Santonio Holmes. However, things looked grim as Browns WR Joshua Cribbs returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Fortunately, RB Willie Parker answered with a 1-yard TD run and a 4-yard TD reception. Afterwards, the Pittsburgh managed to hold off a late drive by Cleveland. With the win, not only did the Steelers get back-to-back wins for the first time this year, but they also got their first road win of the year. With the victory, Pittsburgh advanced to 4–6. Stats
Week 12 (Sunday November 26, 2006): at Baltimore Ravens 
Coming off a two-game winning streak, the Steelers flew to M&T Bank Stadium for their AFC North fight with the Baltimore Ravens. However, the problems that had plagued Pittsburgh all season continued to haunt them. In the first quarter, QB Steve McNair completed a 20-yard TD pass to TE Todd Heap for the only score of the quarter. In the second quarter, RB Jamal Lewis got a 1-yard TD run, while kicker Matt Stover nailed a 37-yard field goal. In the third quarter, things worsened as QB Ben Roethlisberger was hit and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Ravens OLB Adalius Thomas. Thomas returned it 57 yards for a touchdown and the only score of the quarter. In the fourth quarter, Stover put the game away with a 40-yard field goal. Stats
Not only did Baltimore's offense help contribute to the Steelers dropping to 4–7, the Ravens defense (anchored by the return of veteran LB Ray Lewis) was also a huge factor, as they sacked Roethlisberger nine times and forced two interceptions.
Pittsburgh's defense held the Bucs to three points
Following a humiliating road loss to the Ravens, the Steelers went home for a Week 13 fight with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were visiting Pittsburgh for the first time since 1983. In the first quarter, the Steelers drew first blood with QB Ben Roethlisberger's 2-yard TD pass to TE Jerame Tuman for the only score of the quarter. In the second quarter, Pittsburgh increased its lead with kicker Jeff Reed's 50-yard field goal for the only score of the quarter. After a scoreless third quarter, the Steelers continued its dominance in the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger would complete a 16-yard TD pass to TE Heath Miller, while Reed nailed a 39-yard field goal. The only response from the Bucs would be on the final play of the game, when kicker Matt Bryant spolied Pittsburgh's chance for a shutout with a 27-yard field goal. The win improved the Steeler's record to 5–7. Stats
Week 14 (Thursday December 7, 2006): vs. Cleveland Browns 
After a rebounding win against the Bucs, the Steelers stayed at home for a Thursday night fight in Round 2 of the Rust Belt rivalry against the Cleveland Browns. In the first quarter, the Steelers started off strong with QB Ben Roethlisberger completing a 49-yard TD pass to WR Nate Washington for the only score of the quarter. In the second quarter, Pittsburgh continued its domination with kicker Jeff Reed nailing a 23-yard field goal for the only score of the quarter. In the third quarter, the Steelers had its breakout with Roethlisberger getting a touchdown on a 2-yard QB sneak, while RB Willie Parker got a 3-yard TD run. In the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh managed to wrap the game up with Reed kicking a 28-yard field goal. The Browns would manange to get their only score of the game with QB Derek Anderson completing a 45-yard TD pass to WR Braylon Edwards. With yet another season-sweep over Cleveland, not only would the Steelers improve to 6–7, but "Fast Willie" managed to set a franchise record for the most rushing yards by a Steelers RB with 223 yards and he became the very first Steelers RB to have a pair of 200-yard games in one season. Stats
Following their season-sweep over the Browns, the Steelers flew to Bank of America Stadium for a Week 15 interconference fight with the Carolina Panthers. After a scoreless first quarter, Pittsburgh began their dominance in the second quarter. It started with QB Ben Roethlisberger's 1-yard TD run. Afterwards, kicker Jeff Reed nailed a 19-yard field goal, while Roethlisberger completed a 13-yard TD pass to RB Najeh Davenport. The Panthers would get their only score of the game with kicker John Kasay's 37-yard field goal. In the third quarter, Reed improved the Steelers' lead with a 45-yard field goal, while RB Willie Parker got a 41-yard TD run. In the fourth quarter, rookie WR Santonio Holmes (who was plagued all year with fumbles on special teams) returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown. Afterwards, Reed helped Pittsburgh wrap the game up with a 26-yard field goal. With the win, the Steelers improved to 7–7. Stats
Week 16 (Sunday December 24, 2006): vs. Baltimore Ravens 
The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Steelers on December 24, 2006, therefore eliminating the Steelers from playoff contention, and ending their defense of their Super Bowl championship. The Steelers would become the first Super Bowl champion since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003 to not reach the playoffs the following season. The Steelers fell to 7–8 and were swept by the Ravens. Stats
Hoping to end their season on a high note, the Steelers flew to Paul Brown Stadium for an AFC North rematch with the Cincinnati Bengals. After a scoreless first quarter, Pittsburgh drew first blood in the second quarter with RB Willie Parker getting a 1-yard TD run. Afterwards, the Bengals would manage to salvage a 34-yard field goal by kicker Shayne Graham. After a scoreless third quarter, Cincinnati took the lead by getting a Willie Parker fumble and ending it with QB Carson Palmer completing a 66-yard TD pass to WR Chris Henry. Fortunately, Parker managed to make amends with another 1-yard TD run. However, the Bengals went back into the lead with Palmer completing a 5-yard TD pass to TE Tony Stewart. The Steelers would manage to tie the game late in the game with kicker Jeff Reed nailing a 35-yard field goal. Cincinnati quickly managed to get into field goal range, yet fortunately, Graham's 39-yard field goal went wide right. In overtime, Pittsburgh took full advantage and won with QB Ben Roethlisberger's 67-yard TD pass to rookie WR Santonio Holmes. With the win, not only did the Steelers end their season at 8–8, but they also wiped out any hope that the Bengals had of reaching the playoffs. Stats
- ^ Cook: Batch meets the challenge. Retrieved 11–11–06.