It seems there was a lot of history made last night. The biggest, I suppose, was Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin recording the 150th victory of his career, becoming just the 20th ever to do so in the century-long history of the game. T.J. Watt made Steelers history by recording double-digit sacks in four seasons, which had never been done in the franchise.
And Ben Roethlisberger recorded the 50th game-winning drive of his career, becoming just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to do so, tying Tom Brady for third place. He now trails only Peyton Manning (54) and Drew Brees (53), both of whom are retired, though he only has nine more games to catch up.
“That’s pretty cool. I didn’t know”, Roethlisberger said after the game when it was pointed out to him that his final drive of the game marked the 50th game-winning drive of his career. “I’ll take a win any way we can get it. I hate the stress of a fourth-quarter comeback, but we’ll take it”.
Roethlisberger actually slightly misspeaks here, as there is a distinction between a game-winning drive and a fourth-quarter comeback. In order to achieve a comeback, a team must be losing, and it also doesn’t require that the team actually win the game. In this instance, he recorded both a game-winning drive and a fourth-quarter comeback, but this was his 50th of the former and his 38th of the latter, which is the third-most all time (behind Manning at 43 and Brady at 41). He both tied and passed Brees on this list earlier in the year.
The Steelers entered the second half leading 14-3, and would eventually hold a 20-6 lead entering the fourth quarter, though the Chicago Bears quickly got on the board and cut the deficit to seven. A Ray-Ray McCloud fumble on a punt return and subsequent defensive touchdown by the Bears gave way to a momentum swing that led to Chicago taking a 27-26 lead with 1:52 to play.
The offense took the field once again, and in 80 seconds, moved the ball 52 yards on seven plays to get down to the Bears’ 23-yard line, where they set up kicker Chris Boswell for the 40-yard game-winner. The veteran kicker had already made two from 50-plus in the game, yet he also missed his first extra point of the season.
Roethlisberger said after the game that he and his offense were calm on the sideline as they watched the Bears march down the field and score a go-ahead touchdown in just over a minute. His only thought was that they left him too much time on the clock.
After all, while he is playing with a number of rookies, he’s been here before, numerous times. And recently. This is his eighth game-winning drive since the start of the 2020 season, and the fourth this year in just eight games, out of five wins. Show your guys that you have confidence in getting the job done, and they’ll feed off of that.