Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers Complete Dramatic Comeback to Beat Jaguars 20-16

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2018

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a 78-yard touchdown pass to receiver Antonio Brown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Ben Roethlisberger didn't have his best game Sunday, but he got the job done when it counted.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback dove in from one yard out with five seconds remaining to give Pittsburgh a 20-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Roethlisberger led the Steelers 68 yards on seven plays before scampering in on a run-pass option play as the clock ticked down. His touchdown was upheld after a booth review.

Pittsburgh trailed 16-0 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Roethlisberger threw three interceptions, two of which were picked off by Jalen Ramsey, plus two others that were called back because of penalties—including one on the game-winning drive.


Jalen Ramsey Proves He's Untradeable

Prior to kickoff, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Ramsey was "slowly but surely" leading the Jags to consider trading the All-Pro cornerback. Schefter's report noted the team has become wary of Ramsey's outspoken nature, which included a Nov. 12 tweet that stated, "When I'm gone from here, y'all gone miss me. I ain't even trippin lol."

Jacksonville didn't waste any time denying the rumor.

And then Ramsey proved why he shouldn't be traded under any circumstances.

Whether his brash comments are off-putting or not (they are very much not), he is the best cornerback in football. His second interception was particularly jaw-dropping, as he rose over Antonio Brown to snag what could have been a touchdown toss in the third quarter.

Brown got one back on a 78-yard touchdown later in the quarter, but Ramsey held the best receiver in football to four receptions and 39 yards on his other 12 targets.

Unless your name is Jon Gruden, you do not trade a generational talent at a premium position just because he's a little ornery at times. Ramsey has the potential to be an all-time great in part because of his confidence.

He's untouchable.


Big Ben's Awful Game No Cause for Concern

These types of games are just a reality of employing late-career Roethlisberger at quarterback. Roethlisberger has had at least one three-interception game in each of the last four seasons, and Sunday was his second of 2018.

In 2017, Roethlisberger tossed five picks in an ugly 30-9 home loss to Jacksonville. Then he threw five touchdowns against the same defense in the Steelers' divisional-round loss.

It's no surprise Roethlisberger had this particular pick-heavy game away from Pittsburgh. His home-road splits have been jarring for years now. Roethlisberger plays like one of the five best quarterbacks in football at home and like a league-average (or worse) signal-caller on the road.

The Steelers won this game, so any cause for concern went out the window. Their Week 1 tie against the Cleveland Browns, which once looked like a major scar on their record, hasn't turned out so bad. The Steelers now sit in the driver's seat for the second home-field spot thanks in part to that tie.

Big Ben was pretty bad until the fourth quarter Sunday, but if you've been paying attention, it was par for the course.


Steelers Offense's Ceiling Lower with James Conner Than Le'Veon Bell

James Conner played his first bad game in nearly two months Sunday. He finished with 25 yards on nine carries and 24 yards on his six receptions. The Steelers played from behind, so they did not have much of a chance to establish the run, but Conner didn't do anything with his limited opportunities.

His work in the passing game was also disappointing. He didn't run with much patience or vision when given the ball in the open field; Conner's one-yard reception at the end of the first half—he had three blockers in front of him but ran right into a defender—was particularly disappointing.

Conner also took his eye off the ball and dropped a potential game-winning touchdown catch on the final drive.

That is the difference between good and great. Conner is a good running back. Le'Veon Bell is a great running back. Bell doesn't have these types of games because of his talent and rushing IQ. Even Bell's "bad" games end up as net positives, and he forces defenses to watch him on every snap.

Conner doesn't command that same level of attention, and he doesn't have the combination of vision and burst that can get the job done when the blockers aren't doing so.


What's Next?

The Steelers will travel to play the Denver Broncos next Sunday. The Jaguars will visit the Buffalo Bills.