It was only fitting that Ben Roethlisberger would have at least one last chance to be a hero.
In a must-win game, the Pittsburgh Steelers somehow got help from the Jacksonville Jaguars, setting up the possibility of making it into the playoffs. At first, it did not seem promising, as the offense failed to score any points, let alone a touchdown. But as Big Ben has done so often in his career, he came up big when it mattered and engineered a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, eventually taking the game into overtime after the Baltimore Ravens tied the game with a field goal. The Steelers, with the help of rookies Pat Freiermuth and Najee Harris, as well as contributions by receivers Ray-Ray McCloud and Diontae Johnson, methodically made the plays necessary to put themselves in field goal range. The always-reliable Chris Boswell would kick the winning field goal to give the Steelers a 16-13 win and a playoff chance.
The first thing I need to do is apologize to this team. In almost every postgame commentary this season, I made the statement that this year's Steelers were not a playoff team. The mistake I made all along was underestimating the will and desire of a team.
A few weeks ago, many would have assumed that this team was destined to fail following their poor performance in their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Yet, this team never quit on themselves and won two straight games, placing them in position to make the postseason.
In a season in which the team's offense was comprised of an offensive line that was filled with rookies, injuries at the wide receiver position, and an ageing quarterback with arthritic knees that was past his prime, one would have drawn the conclusion that this year's team was not equipped enough to even see the playoffs. One thing I have come to learn over time is to never underestimate the desire of this team to achieve, regardless of the odds against them.
No matter what happens from this point, the 2021 Steelers will go down as one of the most unexpected teams to make the playoffs. For those who expected this to be Roethlisberger's last game, unfortunately, you will have to wait another week because his NFL story has not ended yet.