Ben Roethlisberger delays retirement questions with Steelers on verge of improbable playoff berth

On the eve of perhaps his last NFL game, Ben Roethlisberger received a text message from his father asking how he was doing.

Roethlisberger said he felt good and didn’t feel like Sunday’s game against the Ravens was going to be the end of his career.

When he left the field at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Roethlisberger had to be more confident than ever that he was not done yet. He had led Pittsburgh to a 16-13 overtime return win against the Ravens to end the regular season, and with some help from the Colts and pending the outcome of Sunday’s game between the Chargers and Raiders, he and the Steelers could come back. to the postseason.

“Last week was a lot more emotional, it brought it all out and made me feel like, ‘Let’s play,'” Roethlisberger said after Sunday’s win. “At no point during this game did I think, ‘Man, this is it. It’s almost over. ‘ It just didn’t feel that way and I’m glad I didn’t have those feelings. “

Rumors have circulated throughout the season that the 2021 campaign would be Roethlisberger’s last in the NFL, and his emotional final game at Heinz Field in Week 17 seemed to confirm that. The 18-year-old veteran has yet to confirm that he will in fact hang up his shoes at the end of the season, but if in fact he has, it looks like he won’t miss out on close games with the Ravens. .

“I told a lot of those guys that I wouldn’t miss playing them,” Roethlisberger said of the Ravens. “Soccer is already a very violent game. But you know that playing with these guys has always been one where you wake up on Monday morning, whatever the next day is, and you’re hurt. And it’s never dirty. It’s just well, old-fashioned. ” football.”

It seemed for a while Sunday that Roethlisberger might not have a chance to make the playoffs. Pittsburgh’s offense was limited to just two field goals during the first three quarters as Baltimore took a 10-6 lead. But Roethlisberger threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool with 2:54 remaining in regulation to give the Steelers a 13-10 lead.

The Ravens responded with a field goal to send the game into overtime. After Baltimore failed to score on its first drive in the extra period, Roethlisberger marched to Pittsburgh 65 yards to set Chris Boswell up for a game-winning 36-yard field goal.

The Steelers entered Sunday’s contest 8-7-1 and needed a lot of help to make the playoffs for the second straight season. Not only did they need to beat Baltimore, they needed the Jaguars to beat the Colts and the Chargers or Raiders to beat the other on “Sunday Night Football.”

Pittsburgh watched throughout the game as the scoring in Baltimore reflected the chaos that was unfolding in Jacksonville that ended with the holders of the 2022 No. 1 overall draft pick ending the Colts’ playoff hopes with a 26-6 victory. eleven.

Now, all the Steelers need is for the Chargers and Raiders to avoid a tie. If one of those teams wins, the Steelers will enter the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the AFC and head to Kansas City for a matchup against the Chiefs, the No. 2 seed.