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SteelerNation1
09-11-2009, 03:17 PM
Clutch moments becoming old hat for Big Ben
Michael Silver

By Michael Silver, Yahoo! Sports 12 hours, 20 minutes ago


PITTSBURGH – The Tennessee Titans called heads, the coin came up tails, and while 65,110 fans at Heinz Field roared their powerful roars and waved their Terrible Towels, Ben Roethlisberger(notes) sidled up to a ballboy and made a four-word request.

Get me my hat.

Photo Roethlisberger and Holmes celebrate the second-quarter TD.
(Jason Miller/US Presswire)

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A brutally physical NFL season opener between the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans was deadlocked and headed for overtime late Thursday night, and the quarterback’s statement carried an unspoken but obvious tagline: Get me my hat, because I’m about to take us down the field for the winning points, and I want to cover up my sweaty hair when I do that postgame interview with Andrea Kremer.

And what did the ballboy do?

“He got me my hat,” Roethlisberger said about half an hour later as he undressed at his locker, grinning like a schoolboy who’d just drained a game-winning jumper at the recess bell.

Smart kid, that ballboy. Clutch dude, that quarterback. Right now, with apologies to the NFL’s two reigning greats in New England and Indy, is there any passer you’d rather have with the ball in his hands and the game on the line than Big Ben?

Not on Thursday: Just as he’d predicted, Roethlisberger completed 5-of-7 passes for 60 yards in Pittsburgh’s lone overtime possession, Jeff Reed(notes) blasted a 33-yard field goal through the uprights, and the Steelers walked off with a 13-10 victory over the last team to have defeated them late in the ’08 season.

Much has changed since that December day when the Titans blasted Pittsburgh in Nashville and some of them offended the visitors by stomping on Terrible Towels on the sideline. At that point Roethlisberger was merely a top-notch quarterback with a three-year-old Super Bowl triumph under his belt and a well-deserved reputation for keeping plays alive and keeping cool under pressure.

And now? I don’t know how to put this, but he’s kind of a big deal.

Last February in Tampa, Fla., Roethlisberger engineered one of the most memorable drives in NFL history, hitting Santonio Holmes(notes) on a gorgeous, 6-yard touchdown pass to the corner of the end zone with 35 seconds remaining to give Pittsburgh a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

At that point, Roethlisberger became a mega-star with a clear path toward football immortality. At 27, he seems to be getting better, and the Steelers are so obviously his team that even a potentially severe left knee injury to star safety Troy Polamalu (coach Mike Tomlin said after the game he believes Polamalu has a sprained medial collateral ligament and will likely be out three-to-six weeks, which would be a terrific and relieving diagnosis if confirmed) became a secondary story Thursday night.

One other significant event in Roethlisberger’s life occurred since the most recent Super Bowl triumph: In July a Nevada casino worker filed a civil suit alleging that the quarterback sexually assaulted her in the summer of 2008. Roethlisberger, through his own words and those of his attorney, has steadfastly professed his innocence.

If there was a fear that the lawsuit would distract him on the football field, it was extinguished on Thursday. Despite being pummeled with regularity by a defense he called Ravenesque – even without departed defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth(notes), Tennessee still ranks with Baltimore and Pittsburgh as the league’s most physical D – Roethlisberger shook off four sacks and a pair of interceptions to complete 33 of 43 passes for 363 yards and a pretty 34-yard touchdown pass to Holmes.

With all of that said, Big Ben was nervous before the game, something he insisted had nothing to do with any off-the-field drama.

“It was my first time being back out there in awhile – that’s all,” he said. “I definitely had the jitters. I told my coach in warm-ups, ‘Man, every one of my balls is high. I can’t throw it where I want to.’ At the start of the game, it showed.”

It was apparent on the game’s third play when, with the Steelers facing third-and-8 at their own 44-yard line, Roethlisberger gave a pump fake and threw deep down the middle to rookie wideout Mike Wallace(notes). “I had him for a touchdown,” Roethlisberger said. “I just missed the throw.” His short pass fell incomplete, and thanks to a pair of atypical missed field goals by Tennessee kicker Rob Bironas(notes) (one off a bad snap, one blocked), the game remained scoreless until shortly before halftime.

Roethlisberger changed that with 1:22 remaining in the second quarter when, on first-and-10 from the Titans’ 34, he dropped back in the shotgun, stared down Hines Ward(notes) and sold a gorgeous pump fake in the veteran wideout’s direction, drawing in former Pittsburgh safety Chris Hope(notes). That left Holmes, whose nine catches for 131 yards would exactly match his Super Bowl MVP stats from February, streaking across the middle of the end zone with plenty of room to catch Roethlisberger’s resplendent spiral.

In the process of absorbing the four sacks and wriggling out of many other potential takedowns, Big Ben hung in and frustrated his increasingly winded opponents.

“That big [expletive] is tough as hell,” Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse(notes), who had one of the sacks, said as he walked off the field following Reed’s game-winner. “He just stays alive. He takes sacks, but he also buys time to find receivers.”

After Roethlisberger drove the Steelers 56 yards on 12 plays to set up Reed’s 32-yard tying field goal with 2:57 remaining, he approached Pittsburgh’s defenders on the sideline and told them, “You get me the ball back, and I’ll win this game.”

Photo David Thornton(notes) (left) and Jovan Haye(notes) get to Roethlisberger for one of the Titans’ four sacks.
(Scott Boehme/Getty)

He would have delivered, too, had it not been for a stunning occurrence: Ward, one of the league’s most reliable performers, fumbling inside the Tennessee 5 with 51 seconds to go. On first-and-10 from the Titans’ 34, Roethlisberger hit the wideout at the 18 and watched him race through the secondary and bull toward the goal line.

“I thought I was going in,” Ward said. “I figured, ‘The game’s a wrap.’ ”

But at that instant Tennessee safety Michael Griffin(notes) reached across from the side and dislodged the ball, and teammate Stephen Tulloch(notes) recovered at the 4, allowing the Titans to kill the remaining time and set up the fateful coin flip.

“Who would have ever thought Hines Ward would fumble in that situation?” Roethlisberger said. “It’s like Jerome [Bettis] fumbling against Indy.” And we all remember who saved the day with a shoestring tackle of Nick Harper(notes) after The Bus’ goal-line cough-up in that ’05 playoff game, preserving what turned out to be a Super Bowl title run for the black-and-gold.

On Thursday, Big Ben was the savior again, producing his 20th career come-from-behind victory in the fourth quarter or overtime (playoffs included) with the poise that few others in his profession can match. The final blow on the OT drive came when Wallace broke free over the deep middle and snagged a 22-yard rope from the quarterback before being tackled at the Tennessee 15.

Reed trotted onto the field, and Roethlisberger took off his helmet and looked for the ballboy, in search of a kinder, gentler form of head ware.

We know now that “Get me my hat” is the equivalent of Red Auerbach’s victory cigar – and that Big Ben is still coming up huge when it counts most.

NC Steeler Fan
09-11-2009, 03:26 PM
I loved this:

"“That big [expletive] is tough as hell,” Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse(notes), who had one of the sacks, said as he walked off the field following Reed’s game-winner. "

Mel Blount's G
09-11-2009, 03:38 PM
After we win the coin toss:

Big Ben says "Get me my hat."

Deebo says "Might as well untape now."

Skippy says "One kick, Jäger & babes. One kick, Jäger & babes. One kick..."

Hines Ward says "Whew!"

LenWhale White says "Get my bodyguard....and a fish sammy to go"

Boo Scaiffe says "boo hoo hoo..."

Troy P says "Pansy."

Big Snack says "Mmmmmmm. Cheesburgers..."

Max Starks says "Arbys?"

BA says "Did that Redman kid dress tonight?"

BW LeBeau says "........"

Mel Blount's G
09-11-2009, 03:43 PM
I loved this:

"“That big [expletive] is tough as hell,” Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse(notes), who had one of the sacks, said as he walked off the field following Reed’s game-winner. "
Kearse gave Ben the best shot he had and BR just got up and shrugged it off. Damn skippy he's tough :twisted:

RuthlessBurgher
09-11-2009, 04:01 PM
After we win the coin toss:

Big Ben says "Get me my hat."

Deebo says "Might as well untape now."

Skippy says "One kick, Jäger & babes. One kick, Jäger & babes. One kick..."

Hines Ward says "Whew!"

LenWhale White says "Get my bodyguard....and a fish sammy to go"

Boo Scaiffe says "boo hoo hoo..."

Troy P says "Pansy."

Big Snack says "Mmmmmmm. Cheesburgers..."

Max Starks says "Arbys?"

BA says "Did that Redman kid dress tonight?"

BW LeBeau says "........"

Matt Hasselbeck (from his couch at home): "We want the ball and we're going to score!"

:lol:

Mel Blount's G
09-11-2009, 04:22 PM
After we win the coin toss:

Big Ben says "Get me my hat."

Deebo says "Might as well untape now."

Skippy says "One kick, Jäger & babes. One kick, Jäger & babes. One kick..."

Hines Ward says "Whew!"

LenWhale White says "Get my bodyguard....and a fish sammy to go"

Boo Scaiffe says "boo hoo hoo..."

Troy P says "Pansy."

Big Snack says "Mmmmmmm. Cheesburgers..."

Max Starks says "Arbys?"

BA says "Did that Redman kid dress tonight?"

BW LeBeau says "........"

Matt Hasselbeck (from his couch at home): "We want the ball and we're going to score!"

:lol:
:lol:
Al Harris (from inside Hasselbeck's mind): "Yeah boyah. And please call that 10 yard up and out you cue-balled brokeback dilfer smoker"

proudpittsburgher
09-11-2009, 07:22 PM
Great story . . . but I am almost positive the Titans called tails for the overtime kickoff.

NorthCoast
09-11-2009, 07:31 PM
That's what separates Ben from alot of other QBs. Ben just doesn't fear the sack as much as a Manning or Brady. I actually think he begins to play better the more contact he has in games. Rather than losing focus from getting hit, he seems to improve!

He is like one of those heavy weight boxers that have no moves, can take the punches, then comes with a right cross out of nowhere to put things away.

stlrz d
09-11-2009, 09:19 PM
Great story . . . but I am almost positive the Titans called tails for the overtime kickoff.

You would be correct.

Also, I posted about this in the Harrison quote thread...honestly SN1...I hadn't seen this thread. I read the story on some website while at work. :oops:

SidSmythe
09-11-2009, 09:31 PM
[quote="Mel Blount's G":1mep037h]After we win the coin toss:

Big Ben says "Get me my hat."

Deebo says "Might as well untape now."

Skippy says "One kick, Jäger & babes. One kick, Jäger & babes. One kick..."

Hines Ward says "Whew!"

LenWhale White says "Get my bodyguard....and a fish sammy to go"

Boo Scaiffe says "boo hoo hoo..."

Troy P says "Pansy."

Big Snack says "Mmmmmmm. Cheesburgers..."

Max Starks says "Arbys?"

BA says "Did that Redman kid dress tonight?"

BW LeBeau says "........"

Matt Hasselbeck (from his couch at home): "We want the ball and we're going to score!"

:lol:
:lol:
Al Harris (from inside Hasselbeck's mind): "Yeah boyah. And please call that 10 yard up and out you cue-balled brokeback dilfer smoker"[/quote:1mep037h]

TRENT DILFER: "Ben Roethlesburger is good but Matt Hasselbeck is a franchise QB!!"

RuthlessBurgher
09-11-2009, 11:47 PM
[quote="Mel Blount's G":2ucyevua]After we win the coin toss:

Big Ben says "Get me my hat."

Deebo says "Might as well untape now."

Skippy says "One kick, Jäger & babes. One kick, Jäger & babes. One kick..."

Hines Ward says "Whew!"

LenWhale White says "Get my bodyguard....and a fish sammy to go"

Boo Scaiffe says "boo hoo hoo..."

Troy P says "Pansy."

Big Snack says "Mmmmmmm. Cheesburgers..."

Max Starks says "Arbys?"

BA says "Did that Redman kid dress tonight?"

BW LeBeau says "........"

Matt Hasselbeck (from his couch at home): "We want the ball and we're going to score!"

:lol:
:lol:
Al Harris (from inside Hasselbeck's mind): "Yeah boyah. And please call that 10 yard up and out you cue-balled brokeback dilfer smoker"

TRENT DILFER: "Ben Roethlesburger is good but Matt Hasselbeck is a franchise QB!!"[/quote:2ucyevua]

The only reasonable explanation for Dilfer making such a ridiculous statement would be if Trent and Matt were gay lovers. Now if only we had photographic evidence of such a thing...

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_t9D_ovmGhQE/R3w6xENitKI/AAAAAAAAMW0/goz8hjaKfCU/s400/Matt+Hasselbeck+Trent+Dilfer.jpg

ghettoscott
09-12-2009, 10:26 AM
Great story . . . but I am almost positive the Titans called tails for the overtime kickoff.

:Agree

They did call tails.

...speaking of....does anyone know why the flip side of the coin is called tails? The "head" part i get..... :?