Ben Roethlisberger Says He Disagreed with Coaches on Fake-Spike INT Play

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2017

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 17: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks off the field at the conclusion of the New England Patriots 27-24 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 17, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

A miscommunication may have led to the interception that sealed the New England Patriots' 27-24 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

After the game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he wanted to stop the clock with nine seconds remaining but that the Pittsburgh sideline wanted to run another play, per NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala:

The Steelers were in great position to try a game-tying field goal with a third down on the Patriots' 7-yard line. However, Pittsburgh ran a fake-spike play, and Patriots safety Duron Harmon intercepted Roethlisberger's pass in the end zone.

CBS Sports shared a replay of the turnover:

Both Roethlisberger and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin are somewhat lucky in that much of the discussion after the game is focused on Jesse James' non-catch two plays before the interception. Officials initially ruled James scored but overturned the call because James bobbled the ball as he was diving into the end zone.

Without that play, the fake spike would be a much larger issue than it already is.

The negated touchdown and interception could have significant ramifications come playoff time.

With the victory, the Patriots earned a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Steelers, thus putting them in first place in the AFC. By winning its final two games, New England can clinch home-field advantage through the AFC Championship Game.

The Steelers are winless on the road in their last three matchups against the Patriots, most recently losing in the 2017 AFC title game.

Sunday's win put New England in the driver's seat to win the AFC crown for the third time in four years.

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