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7's Magnificent Seven
Steelers Radio Network host Mike Prisuta recalls 7 magnificent moments of Ben Roethlisberger's career
By Mike Prisuta Jan 27, 2022

It wasn't Roethlisberger-to-Holmes to win the Super Bowl, but it was close enough given the circumstances.

Fourth-and-8 from the Ravens' 41-yard line with a game the Steelers had to have to reach the postseason tied at 13-13 with 2:28 remaining in overtime on Jan. 9 at Baltimore.

A shotgun snap, a three-step drop and, finally, a pass massaged through the rain and around leaping defensive tackle Calais Campbell.

Wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud makes the catch between his knees and backpedals for a couple of steps in front of a pair of onrushing defenders.

First down, Steelers.

Four snaps later Chris Boswell delivers the kick that wins the game, ensuring in the process that the last regular-season pass of Ben Roethlisberger's storied 18-year career wound up helping to deliver the Steelers into the playoffs.

Add it to the legacy of fourth-quarter comebacks, franchise records and Super Bowls.

Add it to the legend of "Big Ben."

He arrived from Findlay, Ohio.

His final destination, presumably, will be Canton, Ohio.

Following is a look back at a few of the magical moments in between that stand out as unforgettable.

Call them No. 7's Magnificent Seven:

Coming-Out Party
Roethlisberger was having trouble getting the offense in and out of the huddle in a timely manner initially in his first training camp with the Steelers, let alone put his first-round potential on display.

That changed on Aug. 7, 2004.

During an 11-on-11 session on a Saturday afternoon what Roethlisberger was truly capable of came clearly into focus amid the brilliant sunshine bathing Saint Vincent College.

He faked a pitch-left, rolled out to his right and fired mid-stride deep down the seam for a fellow rookie, wide receiver Zamir Cobb.

Cobb made the catch as jaws dropped among those watching from along the sideline.

I remember thinking, "Tommy Maddox can't do that."

Bob Labriola of steelers.com has recalled in print standing next to Tunch Ilkin from such a vantage point, and the Steelers Radio Network analyst and former Steelers offensive tackle's two-word response:

"Brett Favre."

Take a look at Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's first training camp at Saint Vincent College

Just Win, Baby
The Steelers' last victory of 2020 turned out to be a 28-24 decision over the Colts on Dec. 27 at Heinz Field. Their rally from a 24-7, third-quarter deficit included Roethlisberger throwing three touchdown passes in a span of 10:38 in the second half (two occurred in the fourth quarter). The decision clinched the AFC North Division championship for the Steelers.

Roethlisberger always insisted he was concerned about wins more than any other statistic, that all others paled in significance.

He delivered as intended in the one category that truly mattered.

The triumph over the Colts last season was the 156th regular-season victory of Roethlisberger's career, a number that swelled to 165 this season.

Only Tom Brady (243), Favre (186), Peyton Manning (186) and Drew Brees (172) have won more regular-season games as a starting quarterback in NFL history.

Fake-Spike TD
Roethlisberger took a page from Dan Marino's playbook on Nov. 13, 2016 against the Dallas Cowboys. The Steelers trailed, 29-24, with just over a minute remaining in regulation when Roethlisberger hit tight end Jesse James for a 24-yard gain to the Dallas 15-yard line. Rather than burn their final timeout, the Steelers hurried to the line of scrimmage for what most assumed would be a clock-stopping spike.

The Steelers' offensive linemen reacted as if they thought Roethlisberger was going to spike the ball. The Cowboys' defensive lineman, likewise, responded as if they thought a spike would be forthcoming. Running back Le'Veon Bell, stationed to Roethlisberger's right, never moved once the ball was snapped. But Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown had other plans.

Roethlisberger faked the spike and then lofted a perfect-placed pass down the right sideline for Brown, who hauled it in running in stride across the Cowboys' goal line.

Dallas rallied for a touchdown with nine seconds remaining that produced a 35-30 victory, but Roethlisberger's sleight of hand remained no less masterful.

Buzzer-Beater vs. Green Bay
The offensive punch-counterpunch was such on Dec. 20, 2009 that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin opted for an onside kick after the Steelers had taken a 30-28 lead with 3:58 left in regulation. It didn't work, the Packers gained possession at the Steelers' 39 and they quickly drove for a touchdown, a two-point conversion and a 36-30 advantage.

The Steelers got the ball back at their 14 with 2:06 to play.

They faced a third-and-10 from the Green Bay 19 with three seconds remaining.

Roethlisberger, perhaps recalling his high school basketball days, dropped back, stepped up in the pocket and fired a back-shoulder throw for wide receiver Mike Wallace along the sideline in the end zone.

Wallace extended for the ball, tapped his toes in bounds and made the reception.

The touchdown had to survive a replay review before it was made official and the Steelers' 37-36 victory was secured.

Nothin' but net.

An Incompletion for the Ages
Another Steelers-Ravens war was waging but far from decided with 3:13 left in the fourth quarter on Dec. 5, 2010 in Baltimore. The Steelers had just taken over after strong safety Troy Polamalu forced quarterback Joe Flacco to fumble and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley recovered and returned the ball to the Baltimore 9.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs had designs on getting it back for the Ravens, who were trying to protect a 10-6 lead.

Roethlisberger dropped back to pass on first-and-goal, Suggs got a step on left tackle Jonathan Scott and then got a left hand on Roethlisberger's shoulder from behind. From there, Suggs shed Scott's efforts at a block entirely and launched a frontal assault on Roethlisberger, who was still in the pocket. Initially Suggs used his left hand to grab ahold of Roethlisberger's helmet. The hand-fighting continued as Roethlisberger backpedaled and used his right arm to protect the ball and his left arm to attempt to fend off Suggs.

Eventually, Roethlisberger spun to his right and, with Suggs closing in from behind, shot-putted a pass from outside the numbers at the Baltimore 16 that sailed out of bounds in the vicinity of the Ravens' 5.

What might have been a costly sack or a fatal turnover had somehow been avoided.

The Steelers lived to fight again on second-and-goal, and Roethlisberger found running back Isaac Redman on third-and-goal for what would turn out to be the game-winning touchdown in a hard-fought, 13-10 triumph.

Roethlisberger has said it's one of his favorite plays because of who it was against (Suggs), what was at stake (a game against the Ravens) and what it represented (his refusal to give up on a play and determination to continue to compete no matter the odds).

NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth characterized the incompletion as "one of the great plays I have seen in a long time."

It wasn't hyperbole.

It was vintage "Big Ben."

Steelers at Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Tackle
What Roethlisberger accomplished in the second round of the playoffs on Jan. 15, 2006 in Indianapolis won't go down as the greatest tackle in Steelers' postseason history in terms of form or ferocity, but it was absolutely, positively one of the most timely.

The Steelers were poised to deliver the knockout punch after taking over on downs at the Indianapolis 2 with 1:20 remaining in regulation in a game they were leading, 21-18. But on the run toward the goal line that would provide the exclamation point running back Jerome Bettis fumbled.

Colts cornerback Nick Harper scooped up the ball and was off and running, seemingly toward the touchdown that would steal the game for Indy and end the Steelers' season in disastrous fashion.

But Roethlisberger stayed with the play, retreated initially in front of Harper and eventually turned to confront him while still retreating at the Colts' 31. Roethlisberger dug in at the 36 and made a desperation dive at Harper, who attempted to cut inside of Roethlisberger. The Steelers' quarterback ended up getting a hand on Harper's foot at the 38 and Harper stumbled down at the Indy 42.

The Colts drove to the Steelers' 28 but kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed a 46-yard field goal attempt with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game.

The rest eventually became Super Bowl history.

Roethlisberger to Holmes … Touchdown
Of the 56 Super Bowls contested through the end of last season, four featured what turned out to be a game-winning touchdown pass thrown in the final minute of regulation.

Roethlisberger authored one of them.

His throw to wide receiver Santonio Holmes on second-and-goal from the Arizona 6 with 42 seconds left in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIII couldn't have been more perfectly placed, over cornerback Ralph Brown and outside of safety Aaron Francisco and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and just close enough to the end zone sideline that Holmes was able to get his arms extended, his hands out and his toes down.

Roethlisberger had hit Holmes for what should have been a touchdown on the previous play, but Holmes dropped the pass.

That occurred on the seventh snap after a holding penalty on guard Chris Kemoeatu had backed the Steelers up from their 22 to their 12 on the possession that followed the 64-yard, catch-and-run touchdown by wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald that had given Arizona a 23-20 lead with 2:37 remaining.

Too much time for Roethlisberger, in retrospect.

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