Santonio Holmes has had quite the up and down season. From being sent home before the teams week eight home game vs the Giants for an arrest on possession of marijuana, to being the teams most explosive threat in the teams run to this Sunday’s Super Bowl, Holmes is ready for the book on the 2008 Steelers season to be finished. That is of course with him making the biggest play on the biggest stage in the NFL.
“I’ve thought about it a couple times, just being that guy, always being prepared and ready to make that big play. I think it starts at the beginning of the game,” Holmes said Wednesday in Tampa. “How hard we come out and hit those guys in the mouth, establish who we are at the beginning of the game and that would determine whether we make that big play late in the game or early enough to spark the team.”
Holmes has been a huge spark so far in the post season for the Steelers, being their biggest offensive threat. Against the Chargers with the team trailing 7-0, Holmes 73-yard punt return got the team back to even, and from there the team ran away with a 35-24 victory.
Then the next week in the AFC Championship game vs the Ravens, Holmes broke free on a wild play in which QB Ben Roethlisberger was able to find him, and 65 yards later he was in the end zone, giving the team a 13-0 lead as they wrapped up the AFC title with a 23-14 win.
In those two playoff games, Holmes had just four grabs, but they went for 95 yards and a score, another on the punt return. That makes him a guy that could be a for sure game-breaker this Sunday in Tampa.
“I’ll just continue to do the same things that I’ve been doing the whole season and thus far in the playoffs,” Holmes said. “Just making the plays for this team is really all that you need. It jumpstarts the team. It gets everybody motivated and ready to play ball. If I can be that guy who jumpstarts the team, I’ll continue to do the same things that I’ve been doing all season.”
With Hines Ward being probably less than 100 percent with the MCL injury, Holmes will likely need to be the front-runner in the pass catching game for the Steelers. He knows that his ever growing relationship with Roethlisberger, this could be a shot for him to have him big plays in the big game.
“It’s the chemistry that you build throughout the offseason, (and) throughout the practices. After you have practice the time that you spend together talking, communicating all those things play a big factor in how well a receiver and the quarterback work together,” he said. “Those are some of the things that can’t be taught. Being a football player and being an athlete – that’s when it all comes to into play at one point.”
It could be that one point on Sunday where Holmes goes from being an up and coming receiver to being that game-breaker that he’s been close to becoming from the moment the Steelers drafted him three seasons ago.