Ben Roethlisberger has had many big time moments during his Pittsburgh Steeler career and he just added another epic moment Saturday night.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have advanced to the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 18-16 in a dramatic comeback victory.
Now let’s set the scene…A driving rain storm in a hostile environment, momentum swinging the Bengals way as QB Ben Roethlisberger is sent to the locker room for X-rays after injuring his throwing shoulder followed by the Bengals taking a late 4 quarter lead going up 16-15.
The question then became would Ben Roethlisberger come back and save the day ? Could he?
Roethlisberger left on a cart and didn’t return to the sidelines till well into the 4th quarter. Back up quarterback Landry Jones replaced Roethlisberger but was ineffective and threw a late interception that seemed to seal the Steelers fate with only 1:36 left in the game.
The Bengals took over at the Steelers 26 and the only thing left to do was to run out the game clock. The Steelers playoff future seemed doomed. However,the Steelers defense would come through with a miraculous forced fumble and recovery on the very next play. Suddenly there was hope!
With it now being do or die, Head Coach Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger decided to give it one last shot. Not knowing how long his shoulder would hold up or how far he could throw, Roethlisberger took the field.
It was like a scene from an old-time western… Roethlisberger the hero gunslinger entering town, pouring rain, injured shooting arm and the towns’ last hope!
Would he be able to gun down the bad guys and save the day?
The Steelers have the ball at their own 9 with just 1:23 left in the game and 3 timeouts. Roethlisberger would start out with a short pass to the side to Martavis Bryant, who would gain 8 yards on the play and move the ball to the Steelers 17 yard line.
On second and 2 ,Roethlisberger would throw an incomplete pass to Antonio Brown at the 21. Now third down and 2, Roethlisberger hit running back Fitzgerald Toussaint with a 7 yard pass and a first down at the 24.
Roethlisberger would find Toussaint on the very next play for another 10 yards and a first down!
Roethlisberger then followed with an incomplete pass on first down from the Steelers 34. On second down he again hits Bryant with a short 3 yard gain making it now 3rd and 7 from the 37. On third down the Steelers ran the ball with Toussaint gaining 4 yards.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers would now be facing 4th down and 3 from their own 41 with everything riding on the next play!
Roethlisberger would find Antonio Brown at the 45 with Brown taking the ball to the Bengals 47 with just 22 seconds left in the game…First down Steelers!
Now with time being of the essence, Roethlisberger attempts a pass down the field to Brown only to fall incomplete.
However, well after the ball had passed,Bengal linebacker Vontaze Burfict goes to the head of the defenseless Brown and gets flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty.
Another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty would be tacked on to that, when Bengals cornerback Adam Jones lost control arguing and made contact with a referee.
All of this resulting in a 30 yard gain and setting up a 35 yard game winning field goal that Steelers kicker Chris Boswell made with ease with just 18 seconds remaining!
This may not have been Ben Roethlisberger’s best performance statistically but it may have been his most gutsy. He completed 5 of 7 for 40 yards as he played on sure will and determination on that last drive,willing his team to victory. A victory that won’t soon be forgotten.
The question now becomes does the gunslinger have anything left for the next showdown?
I wouldn’t bet against it! Stay tuned!