There are some things that simply come from playing the game for a long period of time. There are others that come from playing the game at a high level for a long period of time. And with each passing year, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continues to make headway on lists of both types.
With the Steelers’ third come-from-behind victory of the season, he continued to work his way up into some exclusive company, now in the top five all time in both game-winning drives and fourth-quarter comebacks. Sunday’s game over the Dallas Cowboys marked his 34rd-career fourth-quarter comeback, which passing Dan Marino for the fifth-most ever.
It was also his 45th game-winning drive, separated him further one week after he broke a tie with Brett Favre for sole possession of fifth place for the most in a career. He is now two behind Marino and Tom Brady to tie for the third-most all time, but of course, Brady is a moving target. Drew Brees’ 53 is second-most, another moving target, while the retired Peyton Manning is atop by just one, 54.
As far as fourth-quarter comebacks go, it won’t be long before Roethlisberger makes more progress here, either. His 34th tied him with Johnny Unitas for the fourth-most in NFL history, and puts him two behind the top three.
As you might guess, Manning (43), Brady (38), and Brees (36) make up the top three, with the latter two, of course, being moving targets. Brees has already had three fourth-quarter comebacks this year, while Brady has had two.
Halfway through the season, Roethlisberger already has three fourth-quarter comebacks and game-winning drives. Interestingly, he has had more than three in a single season only once since he had five during the Super Bowl year of 2008. He also had five during his rookie season in 2004. Neither of those are close to the record, with Matthew Stafford having eight (of each) in 2016.
This is, of course, a record both of accomplishment and longevity. Anybody who plays the game long enough is going to play in a good number of games in which, at some point, they are trailing in the fourth quarter and have to score in order to win the game.
Roethlisberger has been better at doing that than a lot of other great quarterbacks, both of the present day and of the past. It’s just another notch on his resume, even while many still continue to exclude him from the list of all-time greats.