The door was left open enough, for Ben Roethlisberger’s opportunity to play today against Cleveland, and he certainly made the most of it. When Landry Jones went down with a sprained ankle early in the first quarter, Ben the backup came on to lead the Steelers to a 30-9 win over the Cleveland Browns. With the win, a very important one within the AFC and division, the Steelers raised their record to 6-4, to maintain their grip on one of the two wildcard spots. The ideal scenerio for today’s game was for Landry Jones to lead the Steelers to a win while Ben stayed on the sidelines, but as it goes for most of the best laid plans, things didn’t quite work out that way. For the Steelers, it all worked out just fine, but for Cleveland, well, nothing seems to work out for Cleveland. It was obvious that their game plan was to completely sell out against the run and make Landry Jones beat them with his arm, only instead of Jones doing it, Ben did the Browns in, setting an NFL record in the process.
On the day, Ben was 22/33 For 379 yards and three touchdowns. In RoboBen’s relief role, his 379 yards passing are the most ever for a quarterback who had to come off of the bench. Once again, Antonio Brown was Ben’s main target, catching 10 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Martavis Bryant had a big day himself, hauling in 6 balls for 178 yards and a touchdown. It appears as though Ben’s mid-foot sprain didn’t give him any problems throughout the game, and with the bye-week coming up, and the exrta rest that comes with it, Ben should be near 100% for the trip to Seattle. Big Ben set the offensive tone, almost immediately upon his entrance into the game, by hitting Martavis Bryant with a 44 yard pass. By halftime, Roethlisberger had 286 yards with touchdown passes to both Martavis Bryant and Antonio Brown, on the way to a 21-3 lead. In the second half, Ben would only add another 91 yards through the air, as the Steelers tried establishing some sort of a running game. However 56 of those yards came on Roethlisberger’s second touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. The highlight of that catch and run was when Brown stuck the landing on his celebratory flip into the endzone.
The defense backed up Ben and the offense by holding the Browns to a mere nine points, despite Johnny Manziel’s 372 yard passing. Cleveland had no choice but to throw the ball, as the Steelers defense completely shut down their running game. Both of the Browns’ running backs combined, registered a total of -12 yards rushing on only 7 attempts. Manziel had 17 from scrambling on three separate occasions. Eleven of those yards came when Manziel somehow got away from Jarvis Jones, as the pocket collapsed around him. All told, the Steelers defense sacked Manziel six times, and forced him into a couple of turnovers, a fumble and an interception. Twice, Cleveland had the Ball inside the Steelers Ten yard-line, and twice, they came away with no points. It was a good win for the Steelers, their first division win of the season, and sends them to their bye-week on a positive note. Coming out of the bye-week, the Steelers will face Seattle, Indianapolis, Cincy, and the Broncos, before finishing up with the Ravens and the Browns. While it’s not an easy schedule by any means, a healthy Ben Roethlisberger under center gives the Steelers a legitimate to do what they believe they can, run the table over the last six games. Hopefully RoboBen is done with having to come off the bench to win one.