It’s called padding your stats — all great players do it. Once I missed a game-winning layup at the buzzer in a tie basketball game, then scored an and-one in overtime, giving me one more point than I would’ve had if I’d simply ended the game with a bucket in regulation. Granted, my team lost in overtime, but I got mine. Hines Ward was able to pad his stats and his team still managed to win in the NFL opener tonight, fumbling on the five-yard line with under a minute to go in regulation before adding two catches in overtime to set up Jeff Reed’s game-winning 33-yard field goal. The end result: A 13-10 Pittsburgh win over Tennessee and eight catches, 103 yards for Ward.
Big Ben Roethlisberger completed 33-of-43 passes for 363 yards, also hooking up with Santonio Holmes nine times for 131 and a score. Kerry Collins found Justin Gage in the second quarter for the Titans’ only touchdown.
As expected, Pittsburgh safety Troy Palamalu fell victim to the Madden Curse, spraining his left MCL in the second. No immediate word, but apparently that kind of injury takes three-to-six weeks. Heads up, Larry Fitzgerald — you’re next.