From Bob Labriola, Steelers.com:
I believe the clinical term for what we saw Sunday afternoon inside M&T Bank Stadium has been categorized officially by the scientific community, and in the future forever will be known as “Ben being Ben.” And if it hasn’t, well, it should be. After all, there are 18 years of evidence proving its existence.
“Ben being Ben” has taken on many forms since first being observed sometime after 2004 in its natural habitat of an NFL stadium during the fall and/or winter seasons. And while some of the specifics might differ, a true sighting of “Ben being Ben” always includes these two elements: the Steelers win a football game, most usually in a come-from-behind fashion, and Ben Roethlisberger has his fingerprints all over that outcome.
It was fitting that M&T Bank Stadium served as the most recent venue for this recurring phenomenon, being that a decent number of the previous occurrences had taken place on that exact plot of real estate, and it was appropriate the Ravens chose to host former Steelers antagonist Terrell Suggs for the occasion since he had been an active participant in so many of them.
“Ben being Ben” must have stakes, and that was handled sufficiently by the fact Sunday’s loser would be eliminated from the playoffs, and then Mother Nature cooperated with a day that was cold, windy, and damp, not that Steelers-Ravens ever really needs anything more than purple vs. black-and-gold.
Late in the third quarter, the Ravens seemed content to continue to probe the Steelers run defense. They moved from their 25-yard line to a second-and-6 at the Steelers 11-yard line all via running plays. But instead of sticking with what was working, the Ravens’ play-caller decided it was time to pass. Tyler Huntley followed orders, but he delivered a floater late over the middle and into the end zone. Cam Sutton intercepted for the touchback.
Maybe it was the defensive call that enticed Huntley to think he saw one thing when the reality was something totally different. But that’s life in the NFL for an inexperienced quarterback.
Asked about it after the game, Coach John. Harbaugh said, “We could have run the ball there.”
But the Ravens didn’t, and that set the stage for “Ben being Ben” with Baltimore holding a 10-6 lead early in the fourth quarter instead of the Steelers looking at a deficit of 13-6 or maybe 17-6.
The Steelers were moving the ball nicely on the possession following Sutton’s interception, but a facemask penalty on left tackle Joe Haeg cost the Steelers 39 yards of field position – a 24-yard screen pass to Benny Snell got to the Ravens 18-yard line but after Haeg’s penalty was assessed the next play was run from the Pittsburgh 43-yard line – and they ended up having to punt. Pressley Harvin’s punt pinned the Ravens at their 14-yard line, the defense put together a three-and-out, and Roethlisberger came back onto the field with the ball at midfield.
And he came through. Roethlisberger completed 7-of-8 for 57 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool. He converted a third-and-9 with a 20-yard pass to Ray-Ray McCloud and converted a third-and-6 with an 11-yard pass to Pat Freiermuth. The Steelers led, 13-10, with 2:54 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“He’s the same when everybody else gets funny,” said Tomlin about how Roethlisberger reacts in pressure situations. “Everybody else gets a little tight, he’s the same guy.”
Roethlisberger remained the same when the Ravens moved into position for a game-tying field goal, and maybe he held his breath until the fourth quarter ended, but the Steelers held and got the game into overtime, and after the defense forced a Baltimore punt on the opening offensive possession, Roethlisberger and the offense took over at the 17-yard line.
It was time. If there was to be more to Roethlisberger’s storied career, it was time to make it happen.
On third-and-7 from the 31-yard line, Roethlisberger completed a pass to Pat Freiermuth for 14 yards. On third-and-9 from the 46-yard line, he completed a pass to Diontae Johnson for 11 yards. On fourth-and-8 from the Baltimore 41-yard line, he completed a 10-yard pass to Ray-Ray McCloud. Then on second-and-10 from the Baltimore 31-yard line, Harris bounced outside, got a great block from Claypool, and ran 15 yards to the 16-yard line. Tomlin turned the game over to Boswell, who ended it with a 36-yard field goal. Ballgame, 16-13.
You can read more from Mr. Labriola’s column here.