It’s been a little more than 12 years since Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made his first NFL start on the road against the Miami Dolphins and while he won that game, he’ll likely never forget it for several reasons other than that.
For starters, kickoff of that Week 3 game in 2004 was moved from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. because of Hurricane Jeanne which had hit just above West Palm Beach Saturday night. While the hurricane had moved through the area by the time the game had kicked off, the two teams still played in rainy and windy conditions and had to do so on a field that included a lot of mud due to the baseball infield still being present. On Tuesday, Roethlisberger was asked if he remembered that game during his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan.
“I remember being in the hotel, losing power and having our night-before-game meetings with flashlights,” Roethlisberger said. “I still have the flashlight. I might bring it with me just for old time’s sake. We had a bunch of old cheap flashlights and we were having meetings with flashlights for my first start. I’ll never forget and it was the rainiest day that I’ve ever experienced. They had the dirt, the baseball infield was in there so that was a muddy mess and I remember during timeouts and any time they could, the baseball grounds crew was running out with that kitty litter, or that sand, or whatever they throw down and it was just getting thicker and thicker. It was unbelievable.”
Roethlisberger’s first pass in that game was intercepted by Dolphins cornerback Patrick Surtain on his way to finishing the game with just 12 completions for 163 yards. He did, however, throw a touchdown pass in that game to former wide receiver Hines Ward from 7 yards out with 6:16 left in the game and the Steelers won 13-3.
On Sunday, Roethlisberger will again return to Miami to play the Dolphins and according to the current weather forecast, the game could include some rain as there’s a 60% chance that scattered thunderstorms will take place. The temperature is also expected to be in the mid-80s on Sunday and the Steelers are scheduled to wear their black jerseys.
While Roethlisberger is regarded as being one of the best mudders in the league by Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, earlier this season when the team played the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field in the rain, the quarterback didn’t have a great day throwing the football from an accuracy standpoint as he completed just 19 of his 37 pass attempts for 259 yards. He did throw 3 touchdown passes in that game, however, in addition to 2 interceptions in the Steelers 24-16 win.
If it does rain Sunday in Miami, the Steelers will likely lean heavily on their running game. So far this season, the Dolphins defense has allowed an average of 150 yards rushing per game and last week in their loss to the Tennessee Titans they gave up 235 yards rushing. In other words, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell could have a huge game on Sunday whether it rains or not.
Roethlisberger enters Sundays game with a career regular season record of 4-1 against the Dolphins and is 3-0 in the games that were played in Miami.