Pittsburgh Steelers: Is Ben Roethlisberger Still Clutch?

Chris GazzeCorrespondent ISeptember 11, 2012

September 9 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) walks off the field in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Steelers 31-19. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

It is a situation that quarterbacks dream of. Down by six with three minutes to go in the game you get the ball with a chance to win the game. That is what Ben Roethlisberger had in front of him last week.

After successfully running the no-huddle offense for much of the game, you could just feel a Pittsburgh Steelers win coming. That is why it was so disappointing to hear comments like these from Roethlisberger after the game (via ESPN.com).

"I should've called timeout," Roethlisberger said. "The play clock was running down, I hate to burn timeouts. I should've. We were kind of all over the place."

Even with the chaos, Roethlisberger is a better quarterback than the one who threw a devastating interception to the Denver Broncos’ Tracy Porter—or is he?

A shadow of doubt began in Super Bowl XLV when Roethlisberger threw two bad interceptions early in the game against the Packers. Despite the early struggles, he brought the Steelers back to within six, but failed to lead the Steelers to victory in the final minutes of the game.

According to Pro Football Reference, Roethlisberger has 20 fourth quarter comebacks and 26 game-winning drives, but he had only one last season—the lowest total of his career.

In 2011, James Walker of ESPN.com argued that Roethlisberger was the most clutch quarterback in the league, basing his argument mainly off of Roethlisberger's playoff winning percentage.

While Roethlisberger’s overall success in the playoffs has been good in terms of wins, he has not been pretty in the process. More importantly, what has he done lately?

A loss to the Green Bay Packers in 2011 and then to the Broncos in 2012 means two straight playoff losses when he was in position to lead the team to a victory.

Last weekend’s loss was just another failed attempt at bringing the Steelers from behind when he had a chance.

Beyond his failure on the final drive, Roethlisberger completed only 22-of-40 passes against the Broncos while we watched Peyton Manning throw with the accuracy of a laser.

Roethlisberger was unable to outscore a quarterback who had not played a meaningful football game in a year. It was a tough environment and it is a team game, but more is expected from one of the quarterbacks who is supposed to be one of the most clutch in the league.

There are few quarterbacks in the NFL that I would take over Roethlisberger, but with each loss his star is fading.

Roethlisberger is going to lead the Steelers to a lot of wins this season, but he is going to have to win some games in the final few minutes of games if he wants to re-establish himself as one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the league.


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