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lamberts-lost-tooth
11-17-2007, 05:14 AM
Big Ben's legend grows
By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, November 17, 2007

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin calls Ben Roethlisberger a "sick competitor."
Roethlisberger's late-game heroics support the notion.

Elias Sports Bureau uses a statistic called "game-winning drives," and Roethlisberger has more of them (12) than any quarterback in the NFL since the beginning of the 2004 season, his rookie year.

A game-winning drive, as defined by Elias, occurs in the fourth quarter or overtime and either brings a team from behind or breaks a tie. It can be a misleading stat, because, ideally, a team won't be in that situation late in a game.

This is why you don't see Peyton Manning or Tom Brady at the top of the list. Carson Palmer, according to Elias, is second with 11 such drives since the beginning of the 2004 season. Brett Favre is third with 10.
In some games -- such as the playoff victory over the Jets three years ago -- Roethlisberger helped to put his team in the uncomfortable position of needing late fireworks to win.

But that only enhanced the drama, right?

The bottom line is winning, and only Brady among active quarterbacks has a better career winning percentage than Roethlisberger's mark of .735.

With all that in mind, let's a take a timeout, 50 games into Big Ben's career, and rank his top five late-game performances:

5. Steelers 24, Cowboys 20, Oct. 17, 2004, Texas Stadium. The first one's always special. This was the fourth start of Ben's rookie year, when people had begun to say he was merely a "function of the Steelers' system." They must have missed him dodging waves of Cowboy defenders and making spectacular plays all afternoon. One was a pylon dart to Plaxico Burress; another was a flat-footed missile to Jerame Tuman in the back of the end zone. The Steelers trailed, 20-10, going into the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger completed nine consecutive passes on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives (granted, the final drive was only 24 yards) and finished 21 of 25. Must have been a pretty good system.

4. Steelers 33, Giants 30, Dec. 18, 2004, Giants Stadium. The storyline here was Roethlisberger going head-to-head with fellow rookie Eli Manning, who'd been drafted 10 spots ahead of him (first overall). After the Giants took a 30-26 lead with 6:45 left, Roethlisberger opened a seven-play, 67-yard scoring drive with four consecutive completions, the last a 36-yarder to Antwaan Randle El. "The thing I liked about Ben," said Steelers coach Bill Cowher, "was that when the game was there in the fourth quarter, he never really flinched."

3. Steelers 17, Jaguars 16, Dec. 5, 2004, Alltel Stadium. The Steelers were stuck on their 25, trailing, 16-14, with 1:50 left and no timeouts against a stout defense that had allowed two second-half first downs. Roethlisberger authored a drive that included three consecutive completions for 39 yards before he calmly spiked the ball with 18 seconds left, setting up Jeff Reed's 37-yard field goal. "Is a rookie quarterback supposed to win a game like that on the road in a hostile environment in prime time? Probably not," said guard Alan Faneca. "That says a lot about him. He's special."

2. Steelers 31, Browns 28, Nov. 11, 2007, Heinz Field. Twice, Roethlisberger rallied the Steelers from fourth-quarter deficits with heart-stopping touchdown drives that included third-down conversions of 10, 6, 18 and 9 yards. He completed 7-of-10 passes for 99 yards on those drives. He finished the first with a 30-yard touchdown run on third-and-10 and kept the second alive by stiff-arming linebacker Willie McGinest to convert a thrd-and-9. The performance had folks mentioning Roethlisberger in the same breath as Brady and Manning. "Maybe someday I'd like it if I feel I'm up there with them," he said. "But for now, let people talk about them."

1. Steelers 24, Browns 20, Nov. 19, 2006, Cleveland Browns Stadium. After three lame quarters, Roethlisberger sprang to life and delivered a dead-on Jim Kelly impression, shrugging off a barrage of hits to direct fourth-quarter touchdown drives of 87, 79 and 77 yards. He converted all seven third-down attempts. The winning play -- a brilliant, gutsy, impromptu flip to Willie Parker as linebacker Kamerion Wimbley tried to rip Roethlisberger's left arm off -- epitomized Big Ben's career.

And to think, it's only 50 games old.

delhess
11-17-2007, 06:34 AM
hmmm. ben trails only tom brady in winning percentage. what do you think of that colts fan?

fansince'76
11-17-2007, 11:07 AM
Already posted: http://forums.steelersfever.com/showthread.php?p=323223#post323223

Closing.