During the super-close game that required a late fourth quarter 16-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward from Byron Leftwich at the two minute mark, the Bengals' Keith Rivers had been absent from the game. On the fourth play of the game, Ben Roethlisberger completed a short six-yard pass to the right for tight end Matt Spaeth. Rivers, in a zone closer to the middle of the field, started tracking Spaeth when Ward came back to stick Rivers, breaking his jaw. Hines hit Rivers, who wasn't looking at him, preparing for a tackle on Spaeth.
Rivers is out for the season.
Ward doesn't know what anyone is talking about regarding the hit being illegal. "I'm not doing anything illegal. It was a clean hit. I didn't stand over the guy or anything. I just celebrated the same as a guy does when he gets a sack. We'll see. I'm not going to change my ways. If they're going to keep fining me for that, then I'm going to get ined all year. I don't know if I hurt him or not, but that wasn't my inention. I saw he was hurt, said a little prayer for him and that was it. I've been playing like that for 11 years. I guess I don't know what people are griping about."
Here's the hit, already on YouTube.