The Pittsburgh Steelers are not a team that is going to win pretty very often, especially with the state that the offense is in during quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s final years. But more often than not, he still has those moments that show you he’s still capable of making the plays that are needed to win—even 15-10 grindfests on the road.
That’s what they got out of him today, completing 22 of 34 pass attempts for 266 yards and a touchdown pass on one of the nicest receptions you’re going to see perhaps all year from rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth. That came on a 4th-and-2 play, in large part, because the Steelers were operating without a kicker after Chris Boswell suffered a concussion on a dubious fake field goal attempt at the end of the first half.
“Any of you guys that know Ben, that doesn’t change his mentality”, head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game regarding the fact that the Steelers played the second half without a kicking option they were comfortable with. “He plays like we’ve got no kicker anyway. He’s an Ohio boy, man. He’s trying to win when he comes home”.
Coach Tomlin on the win over the Browns ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/OKQ90aCf1x
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 31, 2021
There were multiple situations throughout the game in which they likely would have attempted a kick, but opted for what under normal circumstances would have been the more aggressive call. This even resulted in them attempting a two-point try from the 12-yard line after being flagged for a hold on their first, successful, try. Which was a quarterback keeper from Roethlisberger off of an RPO.
“We’re playing to win. The calculated risk-taking associated with the pursuit of victory, we do not run away from, we run to”, Tomlin said after the game when asked about the decision there, with the Steelers routinely passing over quarterback sneak opportunities.
On Roethlisberger keeping it himself, in spite of his lack of mobility, and frankly, his arthritic knees, Tomlin added, “he is the ultimate competitor. I think we all kind of mirror him in that regard”.
Roethlisberger had never before in his career scored on a two-point play by carrying the ball, although he has 19 career regular-season touchdown runs, so a holding penalty on rookie center Kendrick Green robbed him of a career-first he likely won’t ever attempt again.
But it was still a gutsy performance from the 39-year-old, who also took some shots throughout the game, particularly from his left side with Myles Garrett making Dan Moore Jr. at left tackle look like the fourth-round rookie he is.