Ben Turns Out A Masterpiece

Ben Roethlisberger came within one "chunk" play of erasing one of the longest-standing records in NFL history. And more.

PITTSBURGH – It was a five-star matchup of quarterbacks because Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck were in it.

But they're all talking about Roethlisberger today after he whipped not only Luck but the Indianapolis Colts, 51-34, with a performance for the ages.

Roethlisberger completed 40 of 49 passes for 522 yards without being sacked, fumbling or throwing an interception. He threw six touchdown passes and registered a passer rating of 150.6.

A perfect passer rating is 158.3. So how did Roethlisberger possibly come up almost eight points shy of perfection Sunday?

“We left a lot out there,” said Roethlisberger in a bout with humility. “I missed a couple of passes.”

Perhaps Roethlisberger was docked for the pooch punt that he attempted and had blocked. Otherwise, there were no discernible negatives to his game.

Roethlisberger set franchise records for completions, yards, and touchdown passes, and came within 33 yards of breaking Norm Van Brocklin's NFL record of 554 passing yards in a single game that has stood since 1951.

To go back even further, to 1934, Roethlisberger's 522 passing yards are 11 more than Steelers starting quarterback Warren Heller compiled – in 12 games that season. Maybe it's a bumble-bee throwback kind of thing.

Roethlisberger also became the first player in NFL history to pass for 500 yards in a game twice. His previous high of 503 yards occurred in 2009 against the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers in a similarly attractive quarterback matchup.

Was Luck, the Colts' quarterback, the genesis of Roethlisberger's competitive fire for this game?

“I knew he wanted some,” said guard Ramon Foster. “It was a big game against a really good quarterback. I'm more than sure he probably wanted to compete today.”

Was there a certain look in his eye before the game?

“No,” said tight end Heath Miller. “That would be something you would see in a movie.”

Did he say anything before the game?

“Not really,” said receiver Markus Wheaton. “But him being who he is you can never put it past him. Other than that, business as usual.”

That's pretty much what Roethlisberger said.

“It had nothing to do with that,” Roethlisberger said of the QB matchup. “It was all about us. We have to go out and do what we want and need to do. We don't care about the other team's offense. We're going against their defense. It was a big game for us, so I guess I just got a little extra fired up.”

Fired up, and on fire. Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes to finish the Steelers' first four possessions. In order, those passes traveled 18 yards to Wheaton, five yards to Martavis Bryant, and eight and 47 yards to Antonio Brown.

William Gay scored a touchdown on an interception return in the middle of all of that and the Steelers – behind Roethlisberger's 320 yards – led the Colts 35-20 at the break. Roethlisberger threw a fifth touchdown pass – two yards to Bryant – on the Steelers' first possession of the second half, and added the team record sixth touchdown pass on a fourth-and-1 pass of 11 yards to a wide-open Miller to seal the win, which was the 100th of Roethlisberger's career.

At 100-50 as a starter in the regular season, Roethlisberger joins Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks who've won 100 games in their first 150 starts.

“I've been so blessed to play on some great football teams and to be a part of a great franchise and organization,” Roethlisberger said. “To have my name on a list with other guys up there is a humbling honor.”

The Steelers compiled 639 yards of offense to come within 45 of breaking the all-time franchise record set in 1958, and their 51 points were the most they've scored in a game since putting up 52 against San Diego in 1984.

How did it all of the sudden come together?

“I don't know,” Roethlisberger said. “We just came out and put up a really nice team effort. I said that to the team afterward. This was offense, defense, and special teams, coaches. This was everybody. And why does it have to stop here? Why can't we keep doing this?”


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