During his 2004 rookie season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made his NFL debut in the second half of the Week 2 game against the Baltimore Ravens as he was forced to relieve then-starter Tommy Maddox, who had injured his right elbow. During his Wednesday session with the media, Roethlisberger compared his first career outing to Landry Jones’s first career action that took place Sunday in the Steelers win over the Arizona Cardinals.
“He did way better than I did,” said Roethlisberger. “I went into Baltimore and my head was spinning. I know Landry is a guy above the shoulders especially, is very talented, very smart football player, knows his stuff and a guy that even I would have confidence being in the league 12 years, going up to him and saying, ‘Hey, what did you see there, what do you think?’ And that’s a confidence that I think he showed on the field Sunday, is that he knows what he’s doing.”
In Roethlisberger’s NFL debut, he completed 12 of his 20 pass attempts in the game for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He did, however, throw two interceptions in that game and one was returned 51-yards for a touchdown by Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister. He was also sacked twice in that contest.
As for Jones, it’s obvious that his 8-of-12 passing for 168 yards and two touchdown performance in his career debut was much better than Roethlisberger’s and it probably should have been being as he has been in the league now going on three seasons.
What many people seem to forget about Roethlisberger’s NFL debut is the fact that not only was he a rookie, he also had injured one of his knees during the week of practice leading up to that Ravens game. That injury resulted in him being limited in the amount of practice time that he received.
Jones very well could wind up making his first career start on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. If that happens, he’ll be looking to win just as Roethlisberger did in his first career start in Week 3 of the 2004 season against the Miami Dolphins. In that 13-3 win, Roethlisberger completed 12-of-22 passes for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception.