ARLINGTON, Texas – Just for the record, Ben Roethlisberger got hit on what became a 37-yard pick-six that gave the Green Bay Packers a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on the way to a 31-25 triumph over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
Not that the blow to the shoulder from nose tackle Howard Green upon delivery of what became a badly-underthrown deep ball to wide receiver Mike Wallace mattered from Roethlisberger’s perspective.
It didn’t matter to him when it happened in the pocket, nor did it matter when he was asked about it as he sat at a podium deep in the bowels of Cowboys Stadium.
“I don’t make excuses,” Roethlisberger said of the play in which safety Nick Collins was able to give the Packers a 14-0 lead with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
“We turned the ball over. That’s my fault.”
Roethlisberger was picked off again on a subsequent throw for Wallace into double-coverage in the second quarter, this time by Jarrett Bush. The Packers turned that turnover at the Green Bay 47-yard line into a touchdown that bloated their lead to 21-3.
The Steelers suffered a third turnover when running back Rashard Mendenhall fumbled at the Green Bay 36-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter with the Packers ahead, 21-17.
Green Bay didn’t turn the ball over, and just as significantly the Packers turned all three of the Steelers’ giveaways into touchdowns.
Roethlisberger finished 25 of 40 passing for 263 yards, with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 77.4.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took home Super Bowl MVP honors by completing 24 of 39 throws for 304 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 111.5.
“Tough game,” Roethlisberger said. “There are probably a lot of ‘what ifs?’ There are a lot of throws I’d like to have back.
“I don’t put the blame on anybody except myself. I feel like I let the city of Pittsburgh down, the fans, my coaches, my teammates, and it’s not a good feeling.”
One of those throws Roethlisberger likely would love to have back was an overthrow to a wide-open Wallace on first-and-10 from the Green Bay 44-yard line midway through the third quarter.
The play could have easily gone for a touchdown.
The Steelers wound up settling for a 52-yard Shaun Suisham field goal attempt that went wide left and failed to cut into Green Bay’s 21-17 lead.
“You know me, I hate to lose,” Roethlisberger said. “Especially when you feel like you’re letting down guys who really stepped up in a big way.
“It’s really hard.
Despite Roethlisberger’s uneven performance the Steelers still had a chance to drive against time, the Packers defense and Super Bowl history for the touchdown that would win the game, just as they had against Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.
They took possession at their 13-yard line following a kickoff with 1:59 remaining but one were able to advance the ball 20 yards before turning it over on downs.
“I just told ’em, ‘I believe in you guys, and we can do this,’” Roethlisberger said.
Just not, as it turned out, this time.
“We’re a team of fighters,” Roethlisberger said. “We don’t quit, we believe in each other and we were going to fight all the way to the last second, which I think we did.
“If I would have played a little bit better, I feel like we would have had a better chance to win the game.”