Steelers insider: Big Ben led 'best drive in Super Bowl history'

From Super Bowls to comebacks, Ben did it all
75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E
By and , Audacy Sports

The news of Ben Roethlisberger's retirement has prompted a flood of responses from the football world.

Podcast Episode
The Cook & Joe Show
Steelers Insider Ed Bouchette On Ben Retiring
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

Among those weighing in was Steelers insider Ed Bouchette, who joined "The Cook & Joe Show" on 93.7 The Fan on Thursday to look back at Big Ben's storied 18-year career.

Asked to summarize Roethlisberger's legacy, Bouchette said that, at least on the field, the 2004 first-round draft pick will be most remembered for his epic game-winning fourth-quarter drive against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

In fact, according to Bouchette, the drive is not only the best in Roethlisberger's career -- but also in all of Super Bowl history.

"On the field, it's the Super Bowl 43 drive," Bouchette said. "I still think it's the best drive in Super Bowl history. There's been a lot of them. You know, Eli Manning, and Joe Montana against the Bengals in Miami, but I still think Ben had to start on the 12-yard line, and every pass was on the money, including what should have been an earlier touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes that he dropped. I think Ben should have been the MVP of that game -- although I'm not taking anything away from Santonio, who had a great game -- but Ben just took charge there, and they were trailing, and they were trying to get into field-goal range at the very least, but he put them in the end zone."

To listen to rest of Bouchette's appearance, check out the audio player above.

Read on for more about Super Bowl XLIII and the rest of Big Ben's most unforgettable games:

2008 AFC Championship game 23-14 win over Baltimore

It will be remembered more for a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown by Troy Polamalu that sealed the game.  It wasn’t Roethlisberger’s best stat game.  Ben, though, was about winning.  It was the first home AFC Championship win since 1995 and second ever at home since Chuck Noll.  Roethlisberger threw for 255 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.  Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl.

Back-to-back thrice

It’s a theme here, there were a trio of back-to-back home games during Ben’s career that really stand out.

2014-six touchdown passes in consecutive games against the Colts and Ravens.
2016-nine touchdowns, 680 yards and no INT combined in home wins v KC & Jets
2004-his rookie season beating unbeaten New England 34-20 in 2004 and next week beat unbeaten Philly 27-3—throwing for 4 touchdowns & 1 INT combined. Those wins really established Roethlisberger.

Carolina Blues

After a big win in Baltimore in 2018, the Steelers hosted the 6-2 Panthers with Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey.  Carolina scores on the opening drive.  Roethlisberger leads the Steelers on six straight scoring drives, excluding the kneel downs at the end of the first half, five for touchdowns.  Might be Ben’s finest pure stat game ever 22-25, 328 yards, 5 touchdowns, no interceptions and 27 yards rushing.

Pack Fight   

2009 v. Green Bay-Ben threw for 29-46 for 503 yards, no interceptions and 3 TD including 19-yard laser in the corner of the end zone to Mike Wallace to beat Aaron Rodgers.  Packers had gone ahead with 2:06 to play.  The lead changed hands four times in the fourth quarter.

Home finale

Days after Roethlisberger announced his likely intention to retire, the Cleveland Browns came into Heinz Field.  Ben entered to a thunderous ovation and threw a touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson on the first drive.  Steelers never trailed and regardless of the individual stats, the memory of that emotion, and a victory, was enough.  It also was a final stake in the heart of the team he grew up watching, yet passed on him in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Roethlisberger finished 26-2-1 against Cleveland.

Baltimore comebacks

Can’t think of a better selection of performances, than comebacks against the hated rival.

2021-a listless first half with only a field goal, Roethlisberger threw a pair of second half touchdowns to Diontae Johnson and converted a two-point conversion with 1:48 to play to keep their division hopes alive coming off three straight winless games.
2017-down 31-20 going into the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger led the Steelers to 19 points in the fourth quarter. Ben attempted 66 passes, completing 44 of them for 506 yards and a pair of touchdowns with no interceptions. The win got the Steelers to 11-2 and eventual AFC North title.
Christmas Day 2016-Roethlisberger led the Steelers back with 24 second half points against the Ravens including a four-yard touchdown dubbed the immaculate extension as Antonio Brown reached the ball out over the goal line. Ben threw for 279 yards and 3 touchdowns clinching the AFC North.
2010 AFC Divisional round 31-24 win over Baltimore-a game the Steelers trailed 21-7 at half, Roethlisberger threw a pair of second half touchdowns and won the AFC title game at home the following week. Big Ben threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and led an 11-play, game-winning drive in the final couple of minutes. The drive highlighted by a 58-yard pass to Antonio Brown that he pinned against his helmet on 3rd and 19.

Super Bowl XL

Roethlisberger didn’t have the greatest stats, but did have a rushing touchdown against Seattle becoming the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl.  It was what he did leading up to the game that needs to be remembered.  A near perfect run on the road winning at Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Denver throwing for 680 yards combined with seven touchdowns to just one interception.

The Tackle

A seemingly improbable upset nearly derailed by a seemingly improbable play.  Earlier that season, Roethlisberger had arguably the worst game of his young career losing 26-7 at the Colts, throwing for just 133 yards and two interceptions.  He threw a pair of first quarter touchdowns to stun the Indy team and crowd.

Lead now three, on fourth down with 1:27 left in the game, Joey Porter sacks Peyton Manning at the Indy two-yard line.  Steelers give it to the sure-handed Jerome Bettis to put the game away.  Bettis fumbles, it was scooped up by Nick Harper in a surreal turnaround.  Harper started running the other way, yet Roethlisberger was able to get an arm on Harper’s leg for a potential game-saving tackle.  If Ben doesn’t make that tackle, think of how it potentially impacts Bill Cowher and Bettis’ future.

Super Bowl XLIII

Some may refer to it as the catch, and understandably so.  However as perfect as Santonio Holmes catch was against Arizona in February of 2009, the throw also had to be perfect and it was.

Roethlisberger went back to Holmes a play after a pass went through his hands on the other side of the end zone.  Ben also had to lead a drive right after Hall of Famer Kurt Warner hit future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald for a 64-yard touchdown and a three-point Cardinals lead with 2:47 to play.  Starting at his own 22-yard line, Roethlisberger overcame a 10-yard holding call on the first play to essentially drive 88 yards and a second Super Bowl championship.

There will be more quarterbacks in Steelers history, but none like Roethlisberger.