“We’ve had to win out for a long time, We’re just going to focus on the next one. We haven’t quit to this point. I know one thing, I’m going to keep fighting my butt off. This is incredibly frustrating. We didn’t do quite enough.” — Ben, post-game.
Ron Cook, Pittsurgh Post-Gazette – “Comeback is too little, too late for Steelers“
Yes, the near-comeback in the fourth quarter from 19-7 and 22-14 deficits was impressive. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led two long touchdown drives, completing 13 of 19 passes for 241 yards.
On the 2-point conversion, the Steelers called the same play that went for the Cotchery touchdown. This time, Roethlisberger threw it to Sanders in the left corner of the end zone even though Cotchery and wide receiver Antonio Brown — the best receiver in the NFL this season — later told him they had single coverage on the right side.
“It has to be a quick throw,” Roethlisberger said. “I don’t have time to read it from right to left. I have all the faith in the world in Emmanuel. He was lined up against a corner [Chykie Brown], who had just came into the game.”
Later, Roethlisberger huddled with Sanders in a corner of the Steelers locker room.
“I just told him to keep his head up,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s made too many big plays for this team to get down on himself.”
The final drive was especially impressive because so many of the Steelers’ offensive players were injured. Linemen Fernando Velasco, Kelvin Beachum and Mike Adams were out. So was running back Le’Veon Bell, who left with a concussion on the last drive after taking a brutal hit from the Ravens’ Jimmy Smith and Courtney Upshaw. Guy Whimper had to play left tackle and Cody Wallace filled in at center.
“Those guys battled their tails off,” Roethlisberger said. “I would have loved to get it to overtime to see how they would have done.”
Joseph White, AP – “Steelers fail on 2-pointer“:
Ben Roethlisberger draped his right arm around Emmanuel Sanders after the receiver emerged from the showers in the locker room, the quarterback accepting the blame for a failed 2-point conversion that settled a yes-no-yes-no-yes-no, 22-20 finish befitting the tense rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
“Ben gave me a good ball; I’ve got to make that play,” Sanders said. “It hit my hands, and I’ve got to make the play. It’s not on him. It’s on me.”
Responded Roethlisberger: “I got frustrated with myself because I’ve got to give him a better ball. It wasn’t an easy catch, and I could’ve made it a lot easier on him, so I take that on myself.”
From Jeff Seidel, CSN-Baltimore – “Ravens try but can’t sack Big Ben“
The Ravens did a pretty good job on defense in Thursday’s 22-20 victory over the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium, but one thing they couldn’t be thankful for was getting to Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The veteran quarterback just seems to have a knack for getting away from the rush and pressure, extending plays and just squirming out of trouble. There were several times that the Ravens pressured Roethlisberger and appeared to have him wrapped up — but couldn’t lock up a sack.
In the end, despite getting decent pressure, the Ravens didn’t get one sack the entire night.
“The game plan was to get to him,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We wanted to get to him. He does such a great job of moving around. Later in the game, he went sideways and made a couple plays. He’s just hard to keep in the pocket. One time, he sat there forever and made a throw. He may be the toughest guy to defend in the pocket in football.”
Roethlisberger completed 28 of 44 for 257 yards and two touchdowns, and the Ravens kept him from making big plays. But getting a few sacks would have been big as those are the things that stall or stop drives, and the Ravens just weren’t able to do it.
“He can extend plays; he can make powerful throws,” Ravens safety James Ihedigbo said. “He had a great game.”
You can watch Ben’s post-game interview here.
*Although it did happen in a loss, CONGRATULATIONS are still in order for Ben – he tied Terry Bradshaw’s franchise touchdown passes record (212) with a throw to Jerricho Cotchery!