When the Pittsburgh Steelers needed them most, it was the big-money players on the offense who came through to win the game in the waning seconds. Needing to score to avoid defeat, it came down to the veterans, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown pull a victory out of the jaws of defeat and send them into the bye week with a winning record.
Said Head Coach Mike Tomlin, “I’m not surprised by it. Those guys relish the opportunity to rise up in those moments, whatever those moments are”. He added of Roethlisberger, “he’s probably just himself when others aren’t in those moments. Because he’s been in it so many times, he’s built for it, and because of that, we’re built for it”.
But ultimately it was a two-man play, and he has seen what these two men have done over the years. “Just two guys that made a lot of plays together that added to their portfolio”, Tomlin offered. He snarkily added, “you guys have talked a lot about plays that they haven’t made thus far; talk about this one”.
Of course many people are talking about this one, including teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster, who hasn’t been shy about talking up his teammates. “Like I said, in moments like that, GOATs come alive, as you can see”, the young wide receiver said of his veteran unit leaders.
It was Roethlisberger’s 44th game-winning drive of his career, as a matter of fact, and it certainly wasn’t his first that ended with a game-sealing touchdown to Brown. Most notably, Brown scored the game-winning touchdown on Christmas Day in 2016 to secure the AFC North over the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers were trailing by three with 13 seconds left, facing second and goal from the four and no timeouts left. Brown stretched across the goal line as he was being tackled to secure the win.
Brown also caught a 23-yard touchdown from Roethlisberger with 3:29 to go in the fourth quarter in aa defeat of the Denver Broncos in 2015. In a 27-27 tie, Brown beat Pro Bowler Chris Harris for the second time in the second half for a touchdown to take a seven-point lead that would be the final points scored.
Back in 2014, also caught a 12-yard score from Roethlisberger with 9:07 to play to beat the Tennessee Titans, 27-24. In that one, they were trailing 24-20, needing a touchdown to come back from trailing. That three-point margin would hold thanks to a seven-minute game-sealing drive.
“I’m just grateful it worked. I’m excited about it. That’s how it is”, Brown said of his fourth game-winning touchdown. “When I come out in games, they’re gonna be rolling two people my way the whole game, but I knew as the game went on, we were gonna be presented with opportunities”.
Brown has 65 receiving touchdowns now in his career, all from Roethlisberger. Four of them won the game.