And when those players were mobbing him at the 20-yard line after his impromptu 15-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, the Steelers thought they had followed Roethlisberger to a win over a team with the best record in the NFL.
Of course, it wasn't to be.
The Dallas Cowboys rallied for a 35-30 win, but the fake spike/touchdown pass to Brown is sure to live in Steelers lore.
Roethlisberger said he's tried it before but "That's probably the first time it's worked that successfully."
The play capped a 5-play, 75-yard drive which ate up only 1:13, or not enough, according to Roethlisberger.
"I guess we left them too much time," he said of the remaining 42 seconds.
The Steelers called their second timeout at that point with 1:04 left, and Roethlisberger came out of the break with a 24-yard strike to Jesse James, who went down at the Dallas 15 after attempting to hurdle a defender in the open field.
Roethlisberger ran to the line while making the spiking motion to the rest of the offense. But he also shot a sign to Brown to ignore the phony spike calls and run a go route into the end zone past cornerback Leon McFadden, a practice squad player two weeks ago who was in for the injured Orlando Scandrick.
"It was all Ben," said Brown. "I got his eyes. He gave me a good signal."
"He saw me call it," said Roethlisberger. "Todd [Haley] was in my head yelling, 'Don't waste a down!' But I knew what we were doing."
Roethlisberger took the snap, faked the spike and threw a perfect pass that Brown chased down for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt failed but the Steelers led by 30-29 with 42 seconds left.
That's where the story should've ended.
It didn't, of course. The Cowboys rallied and the Steelers are sitting at 4-5.
"We need to be more disciplined and more accountable," was Roethlisberger's opening statement.
He said it two more times during the three-minute interview, and he was asked how that might occur.
"I don't know," Roethlisberger said. "Is it players? Is it coaches? I don't know but we need to get there quick."null