Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger Says Potential Final Home Game 'Was Very Special to Me'

Doric SamJanuary 4, 2022

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) waves to fans before he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 26-14. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
AP Photo/Don Wright

In what was likely to be his final game at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gave the home crowd something to celebrate with a 26-14 victory.

After the game, Roethlisberger took his time heading back into the locker room. He explained why the moment was so important to him in his post-game press conference.

"I just wanted to sit down and take it in and just try and absorb every minute of this place, because this place is so special. These fans are so special," Roethlisberger said. "I wanted to win this game more than anything for them. Obviously, we still have another game, I know there's a slim chance, but we gotta keep fighting. But this game was very special to me."

Roethlisberger completed 24-of-46 passes for 123 yards, a touchdown and an interception in Monday's victory as Pittsburgh improved to 8-7-1. Steelers rookie running back Najee Harris was the focal point of the team's offense, carrying the ball 28 times for a career-high 188 yards and a touchdown.

The 39-year-old Roethlisberger has spent his entire 18-year career in Pittsburgh. In 15 games this season, he has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 3,496 yards, 21 scores and nine interceptions.

Roethlisberger openly contemplated retirement prior to the 2021 season. He ultimately took a pay cut and adjusted his contract to return for another year, giving the Steelers flexibility in free agency.

This year has been more of a rollercoaster than Roethlisberger had hoped for heading into what looks like his final season. Pittsburgh started the season 1-3 before rattling off four consecutive wins. That came to a halt when the Steelers played to a tie against the Detroit Lions, who were winless at the time. Back-to-back losses followed, and Pittsburgh has struggled to find consistency since then.

With Monday's win, the Steelers are still mathematically alive in the AFC playoff race. In addition to needing to defeat the division-rival Baltimore Ravens in next week's season finale, Pittsburgh will also need the Indianapolis Colts to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders-Los Angeles Chargers game to not end in a tie to get into the postseason.