Now that the NFL Network has revealed the 2015 ranking for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in their annual Top 100 list, I figured it would be a great time to feature him in our weekly Throwback Thursday post.
Today, we will travel back in time to Roethlisberger’s 2004 rookie season and look at his NFL debut which came in the Week 2 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Roethlisberger was forced into action as a rookie thanks to starting quarterback Tommy Maddox being injured early in the second half against the Ravens. If you forgot about how that injury took place, below is an animated gif of the play. Ravens cornerback Gary Baxter was the defensive player that injured Maddox’s elbow on the strip sack.
Roethlisberger, who had injured one of his knees during the week of practice leading up to that game, made is NFL debut with 11:53 left in the third quarter. His first play from scrimmage was a handoff to running back Duce Staley that went around the right end for 9 yards.
During the Steelers next offensive possession, Roethlisberger attempted his first pass to wide receiver Plaxico Burress and it was incomplete. His next pass on second down with 6:41 left in the third quarter was intended for wide receiver Hines Ward but the poorly thrown ball was picked off by Ravens linebacker Adalius Thomas and returned for 8 yards.
Roethlisberger finally completed his first NFL pass during the Steelers next offensive possession and it was a 21-yard completion to Burress down the left side of the field.
With 33 seconds left in the third quarter, Roethlisberger suffered his first career sack as Ravens free safety Will Demps managed to haul him down after breaking free of Staley in the Steelers backfield.
Roethlisberger, however, would go on to throw the first touchdown pass of his career in the fourth quarter and it went to wide receiver Antwaan Randle El from 3 yards out with 13:04 left in the fourth quarter.
Roethlisberger finished the game 12-of-20 passing for 176 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while being sacked twice. While the Steelers lost that game 30-13, Roethlisberger went on to start and win the next 13 games. He also started and won his first playoff game against the New York Jets that season before losing 41-27 to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.