Do you recall the time that former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger won a game for his backup, Landry Jones?
Many of you do, I’m sure, but in case you don’t, or need reminding, it was in week 10 of the 2015 season. Roethlisberger suffered a sprained foot a week earlier on a sack by the Oakland Raiders’ Aldon Smith, exiting the game in the middle of the fourth quarter.
With a bye week coming up and at less than 10 percent, the Steelers were hoping that they could make it through one more game without risking aggravating Roethlisberger’s injury, having only the Cleveland Browns to face. So Jones started with Roethlisberger dressing as an emergency backup, only for Jones to suffer an ankle injury on the second possession of the game in the first quarter. Roethlisberger picks up the story in the latest episode of his Footbahlin’ podcast.
“I come in the game because Landry got hurt. I wasn’t gonna play. I was hoping to get through the game, we could beat them, and I wouldn’t have to play”, he said. “I couldn’t tell you my stats but we won. It was just dominating. I remember at one point someone from the Browns said, ‘The only mistake we made all day was hurting Landry Jones’”.
Or, as Roethlisberger says, the Steelers “just completely torched them”. It was already a 3-0 game when he came in, but the final score was 30-9. Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter alone, to Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, adding a 56-yard bomb to Brown for another score in the middle of the fourth quarter.
By the end, Roethlisberger was 22-for-33 passing, throwing for 379 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. It was the third-most yards he threw for all season and tied for the second-most touchdowns and the third-highest quarterback rating.
And of course it was the Browns—a Browns team that went 3-13 that season under Mike Pettine, who lasted all of two seasons before being fired and getting replaced by the hilariously incompetent Hue Jackson, he of 1-31 infamy.
That particular Browns defense featured the likes of Barkevious Mingo and Paul Kruger as their pass-rush duo, with Christian Kirksey, Tashaun Gipson, Jordan Poyer, and Pierre Desir as some of their most notable defenders—some of whom became more notable after leaving Cleveland, I might add. Poyer did have the lone interception.
And, as Roethlisberger noted, Jones got the win instead of himself, since it was his backup who started the game, even if Roethlisberger’s offense put up 27 points. Though as mentioned earlier, the Steelers were up 3-0 when Jones exited, so there is that…