This was not a perfect game by any means for either team, and both teams combined for five turnovers and 15 penalties for about 180 yards.
With Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, the Steelers are never out of a game, and Ben did everything he could to lead them to a victory.
In this article I will look at Ben’s performance throughout the entire game and give him an overall grade at the end.
This slide isn’t about Ben Roethlisberger per say, however I don’t think you can talk about Ben without talking about the Steelers' offensive line.
Already missing one pair of starting tackles for the season, the Steelers lost both Flozell Adams and Jonathon Scott to injury against the Ravens.
The Steelers called Adams’ injury an illness and Scott appeared to leave with an apparent head injury.
This left the Steelers with Trai Essex and Ramon Foster as starting tackles and it showed with Ben being sacked six times in the game and three by Terrrell Suggs alone.
This only enhances what Ben did during the game because he had to do it while being hit the entire game.
The game started off as well as the Steelers could hope with the defense stopping the Ravens' first drive, and then the offense getting a touchdown.
Ben went 2-2 on the drive and his second completion being a nice pass to Mike Wallace for 20 yards.
His third attempt was a deep shot to Mike Wallace which yielded a pass interference call and set up the Steelers at the Ravens 25 yard line.
Ben then added a six yard scramble to the Ravens 16 on route to Rashard Mendenhall’s one yard touchdown run five plays later.
Even though Ben only completed two passes on the drive, it was important for the Steelers to come out strong with that opening touchdown.
The Ravens had just scored a touchdown to tie the game and the Steelers were backed up to their own 10 yard line.
After an incompletion, Ben went to pass again and started to pump fake a few times and in the middle of his third pump he got hit by Terrell Suggs from behind and the ball popped out.
Everyone thought it was an incomplete pass until Cory Redding of the Ravens picked up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown to make the score 14-7.
Although the Steelers could not block Suggs the entire game, this was more Ben’s fault for sitting too long in the pocket and for trying pump fake one too many times.
It wasn’t Ben’s best half of football however he did lead the Steelers to that opening touchdown and then led them down the field for a field goal, even though it was missed, before halftime.
Ben missed a couple throws and was sacked three times in the first half along with being hit many other times.
He did have that fumble but the Steelers could have easily recovered it if everyone didn’t think it was an incomplete pass.
It wasn’t Ben’s fault that Mendenhall fumbled or that Suisham missed the field goal on the last drive to give the Ravens a 21-7 halftime lead.
After coming away with nothing before the half, I thought it was really important for Ben and the Steelers to come out in the first drive of the second half and score a touchdown.
What actually happened were five plays, four pass and one run, which only netted 10 yards and then a punt.
The drive started out well for Ben with two quick throws to Hines Ward and Heath Miller for a first down but then stalled after a one yard run by Mendenhall and a pass to Mike Wallace which lost three yards.
This led to Ben being sacked on third down to force the Steelers to punt away the ball still down 21-7.
After letting the Ravens score 21 straight points and not doing much on offense, Ben finally started to capitalize on some Baltimore mistakes.
The defense forced a fumble and two plays later Ben threw a nice touchdown pass to Heath Miller to cut the deficit to 21-14 in the third quarter.
Then after a Ryan Clark interception it took Ben four plays to throw a bullet to Hines Ward for a touchdown to tie the game up.
Finally the Ravens fumbled away the last of their three turnovers and Ben converted a fourth and one to make sure the Steelers at least got a field goal to take the lead at 24-21.
Ben never gets enough credit in my opinion for being able to call his own plays and the Steelers offense always looks better to me whenever he takes control away from Bruce Arians.
He made one of his best calls on Saturday by changing up the play on 3rd-and-19 in the fourth quarter and produced the biggest play of the game.
Ben told Arians, "Let's send him. Let's just chuck it deep. If they pick it, it will be a pick way down there, just as good as a punt. ... I just throw it as far as I can." (quote from http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=310115023)
Antonio Brown streaked down the field and Ben threw it up for a 58 yard bomb which Brown caught on his helmet as he stayed in bounds.
The Steelers' offense outscored the Ravens 24-3 in the second half and Ben was a huge part of that by throwing two touchdowns.
He was sacked three more times in the half but shrugged the Ravens off enough to lead the Steelers back from 14 down.
Ben was able to protect the ball in this half and took advantage of all three Baltimore turnovers which led to 17 of the Steelers 31 points.
It just seemed like Ben had gotten into enough of a rhythm to sustain our offense and put the Steelers in position for the game winning score.
I know that a B and A don’t add up to an A-, however I still believe that Ben’s overall performance deserved this grade.
Ben wasn’t perfect by any means in the game and I saw him miss some throws that he should have made, but he was good enough to win and that’s all that counts.
He had the two nice touchdown passes to Miller and Ward and then the bomb to Antonio Brown which could have been a touchdown if he stayed in bounds.
I don’t think Ben is given enough credit at all for his ability to win behind an offensive line decimated by injury or for his play calling on the field in clutch situations.
Ben Roethlisberger continues to win games in the playoffs and he improved his record to 9-2 as a starter in the postseason.
This makes him second all time in win percentage as a starting quarterback in the playoffs and I wouldn’t want anyone other than Ben as the quarterback of the Steelers.
With Ben as the starting quarterback, the Steelers are never out of a game and even with him missing the first four games, Ben has Pittsburgh in prime position for another Super Bowl.
Even though the Jets beat the Steelers in the regular season, I have no doubt in my mind that Ben will lead the Steelers to a win and his third Super Bowl appearance.