Wish fulfilled for Big Ben: goodbye to Heinz Field arrives with victory

In the memory of Ben Roethlisberger, his teammates and Pittsburgh fans, a victory remained in the starting quarterback’s last outing after 18 seasons as the Steelers.

PITTSBURGH – Minutes before his last game in the Heinz Field, Ben Roethlisberger faced the captains of the game of the Cleveland browns in the midfield of the Pittsburgh steelers before starting the “Monday Night Football“.

The captains of the Steelers, Cameron Heyward and Derek Watt, they would normally flank the quarterback on the way to the toss, but the pair stopped short, letting their quarterback carry on without them.

When Roethlisberger Realizing what was happening, he turned around and motioned for them to come with him, but the couple stayed behind. Roethlisberger continued, until he was left alone in midfield for the last coin toss in the Heinz Field in his 18-year career.

It was an appropriate, low-key gesture for the veteran, who said he preferred to win over pomp by farewell to what field was his home.

Then the Steelers fulfilled the greatest wish of Roethlisberger with a 26-14 victory against the Browns.

The offensive plan of the Steelers revolved around the arm of Roethlisberger, and the quarterback attempted 34 passes in the first half, the second-most in a first half of his career in the NFL, including the playoffs. However, the 39-year-old threw for just 96 yards in that first half, becoming the first player in the past 40 years with at least 30 pass attempts and less than 100 yards in the first two quarters.

He finished his final game completing 24 of 46 attempts for 123 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“It’s funny because it’s probably not the way you wanted, other than victory,” he agreed. Roethlisberger After Game. “And that’s all that really matters. And that’s been the story of my career: it’s not always pretty, but we find a way.”

In the first half, Steelers they fell back to pass on 35 of 49 offensive plays for a designed passing percentage of 71 percent. As of Monday, they hadn’t won a game this season with a plan where at least 70 percent of their plays were passes. The Steelers they are now 2-7 this season when Roethlisberger has at least 40 attempts. The only other victory was against Seattle in Week 6.

As it has done throughout the year, Roethlisberger showed flashes of his classic game, like a fake bomb on a pass that found Ray-Ray McCloud for a nine-yard gain in the middle of the red zone. Led a series in the second quarter capped by a five-yard touchdown pitch to Diontae johnson, ending the five-game streak of the Steelers of first halves without annotations.

But he also had an interception, the 210th of his career, tying at Terry bradshaw with the most in franchise history, and was sacked twice. His 2.82 yards per attempt in the first half was also the lowest of any quarterback in the first half of this season. He averaged 1.4 passing yards per complete pass in the first half.

But even though Steelers they concentrated on the arm of Roethlisberger in his farewell game, the runner Najee harris He showed a glimpse into the future with 188 yards on 28 carries, the most of his career, setting a new franchise record for rookies with 1,172 rushing yards.

He also scored his third 100-yard running game, the second-highest by a rookie of the Steelers only after seven Frank harris in 1972. He finished the game with a 37-yard touchdown run, his longest carry of the season. He also racked up 135 rushing yards after contact, the most of any player this season and the most of a Steeler in the last 10 seasons.

TJ Watt, another important piece of the future of Steelers, was also instrumental with a career-high four sacks, taking him to 21.5 sacks this season and one of the record for Michael Strahan of 22 sacks in a season established in 2001. As a team, the Steelers they took Mayfield nine times.

Roethlisberger He maintained his usual pregame routine and did not go out onto the field for final warm-ups until 46 minutes to go. He embraced the minority owner of the Steelers, Thomas tull, who ran a full front-page ad in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday to thank the quarterback. Tull He also wore a shirt of Roethlisberger.

At the beginning of the pregame warm-ups, the owner and president of the Steelers, Art Rooney II, thanked Roethlisberger for their “huge 18 years,” but other than that, the Steelers they ran out of tributes to the quarterback. During the fourth episode.

But as expected, Roethlisberger was the last player announced individually, and he ran out of the tunnel to a standing ovation from the 63,624 fans in Heinz Field, who broke out in a chant of “Come on, Ben“after his presentation. The chant echoed through the Heinz Field throughout the game as fans said goodbye to their franchise quarterback.

With a minute to play and Roethlisberger On the touchline, the crowd chanted “Thank you Ben“while the quarterback hugged his teammates. Then, Tre norwood intercepted Mayfield with 10 seconds to play and allowed Roethlisberger took to the field for the formation of victory in Heinz Field for the last time.

“I am very grateful for this place,” he said. “… There is no place like it. I am so grateful and blessed to be able to call this place home for almost half of my life.”