Ben Roethlisberger: The 5 Best Plays of the Quarterback's Career
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He's had tons of highlight-reel plays during his career, so it's hard to narrow it down to a selection of the true best plays.
Here's one person's perspective on Big Ben's five biggest plays.
5. Roethlisberger Scrambles for Victory Against the Browns
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Trailing 21-16 in the fourth quarter to the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers faced a 3rd-and-10 at the Cleveland 30 and needed some kind of big play to keep the drive alive. Ben Roethlisberger, the comeback specialist during his NFL career, dialed up a play that not only kept the drive alive but gave the Steelers a chance at the victory they were looking for against one of their longtime rivals.
Roethlisberger took the snap and briefly looked to pass, but suddenly pulled the ball down and scrambled up the middle of the field, evading every tackler for a 30-yard touchdown run. At the time (2007), it was the longest run of his career. The Steelers eventually had to come back again to claim victory, but this play was a momentum shifter that gave the Steelers new life.
4. Roethlisberger Hits Mike Wallace to Beat Packers
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The Steelers trailed 36-30 with seconds on the clock, trying to get back to .500 on the season and keep their playoff hopes alive. They'd continually come back throughout the game, but were 19 yards away from a game-winning touchdown with time for only one last play.
Roethlisberger dropped back to pass and surveyed his options, finding his main targets covered. Mike Wallace was streaking into the extreme corner of the end zone, but had shaken off Josh Bell to get open. Roethlisberger heaved the ball to Wallace, who made an amazing, toe-tapping catch that, along with the Jeff Reed extra point, put the Steelers ahead with no time remaining.
3. Roethlisberger Tackles Nick Harper, Preserves Victory
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The Steelers, having beaten Cincinnati in the wild card round, were continuing their improbable Super Bowl run in Indianapolis, where they had the Colts and Peyton Manning on the ropes. With the ball at the one-yard line, it seemed that all they'd need to do for victory was hand the ball to the great Jerome Bettis one more time and get him into the end zone.
Bettis, who was never known for having fumbling problems in his career and who had been exceptionally good all season, suddenly plunged into the melee without the football firmly grasped. It was punched out of his hands and recovered by Colts defender Nick Harper, who began running up a seemingly open field for a lead-changing touchdown.
Ben Roethlisberger suddenly emerged chasing Harper and improbably caught the Colts player from behind with a shoestring tackle that was later dubbed "The Immaculate Tackle," as it preserved the Steelers' chances of victory (Mike Vanderjagt later missed a field goal to seal it) and kept them on the path to winning Super Bowl XL.
2. Roethlisberger Converts on 3rd-and-28 in Super Bowl XL
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With the Steelers suddenly struggling to move the ball consistently and getting into early penalty trouble in Super Bowl XL, Ben Roethlisberger and his offense faced a seemingly insurmountable 3rd-and-28 situation. Wanting to get on the board early and take the lead, the Steelers would have to dial up something special against the staunch Seattle defense.
Roethlisberger took the snap, rolled out, stepped out of a couple of would-be tackles, almost began to scramble, and, just as he was nearing the line of scrimmage, threw a dart to a streaking Hines Ward, who caught the ball for a play that gained 37 yards in total and set up the first touchdown of the game, a one-yard run by Big Ben himself.
1. Roethlisberger to Holmes, the Catch
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The Steelers had dominated the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII for most of the game. Suddenly, however, Arizona roared back to life as Kurt Warner deftly drove the Cardinals to a 23-20 lead over the heavily favored Steelers.
After driving deep into Arizona territory, Ben Roethlisberger was looking for a way to gain the necessary six yards to score and put the Steelers ahead rather than having to have Jeff Reed attempt to tie things up with a short field goal.
Roethlisberger dropped back to pass, surveyed his options, rolled the pocket to his right, and fired a fade to Santonio Holmes, who had already been targeted three times on the drive. Holmes caught the ball, tapped his toes on the very edge of the end zone, and scored the touchdown that eventually gave Pittsburgh it's second Super Bowl in four years.
The play has been considered as one of the best catches in Super Bowl history and has to be considered the top play of Big Ben's career.