Despite being in the city of Cincinnati, the Pittsburgh Steelers got neither ‘Bad Ben’ nor ‘Road Ben’ in Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Instead, the Steelers were relieved to see Ben Roethlisberger channel his inner ‘Clutch Ben’, leading the Steelers on a game winning, seven play, 77-yard drive that took just over a minute. Roethlisberger is no stranger to bailing the Steelers out with last minute heroics, in fact it has become almost a given every time the Steelers travel to Cincinnati.
Roethlisberger has led a game winning drive in his last five road contests against the Bengals. Five times the Steelers have needed his services in the fourth quarter and five times he has delivered. With eight career game winning drives against the Bengals in his career and seven of those eight coming on the road, Roethlisberger has been captain clutch when travelling to Cincinnati.
The Steelers’ season likely fell into the hands of Roethlisberger yesterday as a loss would have sent the Bengals to 5-1 and the Steelers to 2-3-1. But yet in a drive that took 1:08, Roethlisberger went 4/7 for 72 yards and a touchdown, a 31-yard touchdown to Antonio Brown that may have flipped the Steelers’ fate.
Walk off victories against the Bengals have become clockwork. Last season, Roethlisberger led the Steelers to 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to overcome a late 20-10 lead by the Bengals. With the game tied at 20, Big Ben led an eight play, 39-yard drive to put Chris Boswell in position for a walk off field goal.
In 2016, it was 18 unanswered points as Roethlisberger railed the Steelers from a 20-6 deficit to win 24-20. After connecting with Eli Rogers to give the Steelers the lead, Roethlisberger was able to run the clock on the last drive, going 4/5 for 54 yards.
Perhaps his biggest showing of bravery came in the 2015 wild card game, in which Roethlisberger returned from a shoulder injury with 1:23 remaining and led a nine play, 74-yard drive to put Boswell in position to kick the game winning field goal. With a significant shoulder strain, Big Ben went 5/7 for 40 yards, including a key fourth down conversion.
On the final drives detailed, Roethlisberger has combined for 192 yards and completed 16/22 passes in his last four road games against the Bengals. This also does not include his 2014 game winning drive, which saw the Steelers score 25 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to rout the Bengals 42-21.
There have been a lot of come from behind victories for Roethlisberger but Sunday’s win was his 45th game winning drive of his career and his first of the 2018 season. Now headed into the bye week, Roethlisberger has to be feeling confident about where he stands as the Steelers prepare for the second half of their season.