With one drive and a bullet-throw into the corner of the end zone, Ben Roethlisberger is now on the turnpike…heading towards Canton. It’s tough to give a guy a Hall-of-Fame-hint just five years into his career, but that’s the path Roethlisberger has made for himself with two Super Bowl triumphs to date, including Sunday’s dramatic 27-23 win over Arizona.
Like we saw in Baltimore on three occasions this past season, Pittsburgh’s quarterback is the difference in the game. The Arizona Cardinals were the latest victim, as they had the Super Bowl won until Big Ben engineered yet another last ditch drive to give the Steelers their 2nd title in four years.
Don’t look now, but the great Peyton Manning has one less ring than Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger’s game-winning throw was almost as good as the catch, hauled in with precision by MVP Santonio Holmes. The touchdown saved Pittsburgh from a summer of remorse, as their vaunted defense was torched in the 4th quarter by Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald. The primary burn victim? No surprise there…it was Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor, who will spend most of the next six weeks in gauze after getting lit up on a half-dozen occasions in the second half.
The dramatic late-game heroics also saved the league from a day of headlines as the referees again took over in the second half and threw out more yellow flags than Springsteen had band members during the halftime show. I know the old adage is “the refs could call a penalty on every play”…but do they have to do that?
Arizona has nothing to be ashamed of, having halted the much-talked about Pittsburgh running game and stopping the Steelers three times inside the Cardinals’ ten yard line. Larry Fitzgerald proved he’s one of the best receivers in the league and Warner showed Hall-of-Fame mettle in the second half when the Cards worked their way back into the game. That was a very good Arizona team that lost tonight.
There’s not much else to say. The Roethlisberger-Holmes connection on the game-winning throw will go down as one of those “Montana to Clark” moments.
Someday, on a hot August afternoon in Canton, Ohio, I’m sure they’ll show that highlight a few times when #7 gets inducted.