The game did not start out particularly well for Ben Roethlisberger, as the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback opened the game ending their initial possession with his 13th interception of the season, and the nearly league-leading seventh on third down. But he finished it as he has most games lately: with a game-winning drive.
The Steelers have won their past four games—their past seven, in fact—but three of the past four have come on a field goal as time expired, following a drive led by Roethlisberger. Last week, he only had 17 seconds to work with, and Chris Boswell had to hit from 53 yards out.
In comparison, last night’s game-winning drive was a cakewalk, having over two minutes with two timeouts in hand and starting the drive from his own 41. Not that that should make it any less notable. The Steelers worked the clock well to assure that the Bengals would not have a chance to respond.
As has begun to become a pattern lately, Roethlisberger did not get the most reliability out of his targets that he has seen. Antonio Brown actually dropped a couple of passes, Eli Rogers failed to come down with one as well, and Martavis Bryant let a deep shot go through his hands.
Yet he still completed 60 percent of his passes for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns to one interception, not a bad overall stat line considering how the game started, and with the emotional cloud under which the team played for the vast majority of the game.
That yardage also put him over 50,000 for his career, becoming the eighth player in NFL history to do so. Giants quarterback Eli Manning had done so just a few weeks ago. After a one-game benching that saw the organization clean house, however, Manning looks to continue staying ahead of Roethlisberger. He was also the fifth quarterback to reach the yardage mark in his first 200 games.
#Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is the eighth quarterback in NFL history to reach 50,000 passing yards in regular-season career games.
He reached 50,000 yards in his 197th regular-season game – becoming the 5th QB in NFL history to reach the milestone in fewer than 200 games.
— Dom Rinelli (@drinelli) December 5, 2017
In a first for the season, the Steelers actually had two 100-yard receivers in the game. While Brown caught eight for 101 and a score, running back Le’Veon Bell also added five receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown on a 35-yard checkdown. If I’m not mistaken, that is the second 100-yard receiving game of his career.
While Bryant did not come down with that one pass, he did still add four for 40 yards, and there were a couple of nice catches mixed in to that. Jesse James also had a big conversion on the game-tying drive on his lone reception that set up the touchdown to Brown a play later.
Roethlisberger was not at his best on the night, but that is not surprising given some of the extenuating circumstances around the game, and considering that Brown was nursing a toe injury and JuJu Smith-Schuster was returning from a hamstring injury.
He was more than good enough, however, and he led the team, once again, on the road, to yet another win. The Steelers are 6-1 away from Heinz Field on the season, and much of that success can be traced right back to late-game grit from their quarterback. Something you need in the postseason.