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Steelers QB does enough to win



Published: Sat, January 15, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Roethlisberger recovers some early mistakes to bring team back.

PITTSBURGH -- Part of Ben Roethlisberger's success as a rookie quarterback in the National Football League has been a strong running game that has not forced the Miami (Ohio) grad to be chucking the ball all over the field.

Saturday, in the AFC playoff 20-17 overtime win over the New York Jets, Roethlisberger's inexperience was exposed before a national audience.

Roethlisberger experienced a full range of emotions during the game.

The lowest lows came in the second half, when he threw two interceptions.

In the third quarter, his terribly-thrown pass was intercepted by Reggie Tongue and returned 86 yards for a touchdown and a 17-10 lead for the Jets.

Two possessions later, Roethlisberger brought the Steelers back, orchestrating a 12-play, 66-yard drive that resulted in the game-tying touchdown, a 4-yard shovel pass from Roethlisberger to Hines Ward with 6:00 remaining in regulation.

One of the big plays in the drive came right at the outset, but it was Roethlisberger using his head and his feet, rather than his strong right arm.

On the first play, from the Steelers' 34, Roethlisberger dropped back to pass. But, feeling pressure, he pump-faked, then tucked the ball and took off on a wide open field.

Twenty yards later, Roethlisberger jumped out of bounds, and 11 plays later, Pittsburgh scored tying touchdown.

Then, in the overtime, Roethlisberger took possession at the Steelers' 13. He passed infrequently, but tried low-risk passes that yielded big results.

He completed passes of 9, 17 and 6 yards to Hines Ward. The 17-yarder came on third down and gave the Steelers a first down at midfield.

The remainder of the plays were runs by Duce Staley and one -- a key third down carry -- by Vernon Haynes.

The push moved the ball to the Jets' 15, from where Josh Reed kicked the game-winning field goal with just less than four minutes remaining.




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