Steelers Big Plays From Last 50 Years: 2017 – Roethlisberger To Smith-Schuster For 97-Yard TD Against Lions

The Pittsburgh Steelers have certainly had more than their fair share of big offensive plays in the history of the franchise. In this Summer of 2020 offseason series, I’ll highlight and recap for you the biggest Steelers offensive plays by season from the last 50 years. Most of these posts will include video of the play in question along with a few details and sometimes dated newspaper clippings.

This series now continues with the Steelers longest offensive play of the 2017 regular season, which came in Week 8 of the season against the Detroit Lions and at Ford Field in Detroit, MI on October 29. The play, a 97-yard pass completion from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for a touchdown, came on a third-and-9 play with 3:15 left in the third quarter and with the Steelers leading the Lions 13-12.

On the play, Smith-Schuster, who was initially lined up in the slot on the right side of the offensive formation, ran a seam route after releasing off the line and getting outside of Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs. With two yards of separation in Diggs, Smith-Schuster easily caught the deep pass from Roethlisberger in the middle of the hash marks and at the Steelers-28-yard-line. After making the catch, Smith-Schuster split the Lions safeties on the run and managed to beat all three defensive backs giving chase to the end zone to complete the 97-yard touchdown, the new longest offensive play in the history of the Steelers.

Smith-Schuster talked about the play after the game and the conversation he had with Roethlisberger prior to making it.

“Before that play, actually, we went inside the locker room,” Smith-Schuster said. “I was like, ‘Ben, when I run that seam route, instead of me going out and in, I’m going straight in and beat him over the top.’ We go out there, literally get the same coverage, the same play. I did exactly what I told him I was going to do – go straight in and beat him over the top. He delivered the ball and I went 97 yards.”

The Steelers went on to beat the Lions in that game 20-15 and Smith-Schuster finished the contest having caught seven passes for 193 yards and the long touchdown. As for Roethlisberger in that road win over the Lions, he completed 17 of his 31 total pass attempts in the contest for 317 yards with the one long touchdown pass to Smith-Schuster and one interception.

Below is a video of the Roethlisberger 97-yard-touchdown pass to Smith-Schuster in addition to a short video that recaps the game.

Steelers Big Plays From Last 50 Years:
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
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