Ben Roethlisberger has played what is likely his final game at Heinz Field. It wasn’t pretty, as the Steelers quarterback admitted on the ESPN telecast — but it resulted in a 26-14 win over the Browns, improving his lifetime record against the AFC North rivals to 25-3-1.
Roethlisberger may have earned a victory in his last home start, but he didn’t exactly have the perfect send-off. He finished the game completing 24 of 46 passes for 123 yards and one touchdown to one interception. And it appeared that Steelers rookie running back Najee Harris — who ran for a career-high 188 yards and a score in the victory — had cost Roethlisberger a walk-off opportunity following a 37-yard touchdown run with 51 seconds left.
Luckily for Roethlisberger, he got to see the field one last time. Tre Norwood’s interception of Baker Mayfield with 10 seconds remaining gave the 18th-year quarterback that chance. And, with one timeout remaining, the Steelers had the opportunity — which they took — to give their future Hall of Famer a curtain call.
The only problem: Officials missed coach Mike Tomlin’s timeout signal. They let the game clock hit zeroes after a Roethlisberger kneel down, denying him the extended walk-off.
A smiling Tomlin confirmed in his postgame news conference that he tried to get Roethlisberger off the field, saying, “I was (calling a timeout). I took a shot at it. Took a shot at it.”
For his part, Roethlisberger appeared happy just to have the opportunity to step onto the field that one last time. He was clearly emotional in his postgame interview with “Monday Night Football” sideline reporter Lisa Salters; he admitted he didn’t think he’d get out there after Harris’ touchdown.
“The best offensive play is when you get to take a knee,” Roethlisberger said. “And I got to do it one more time.”