With the Pittsburgh Steelers needing 20 yards on second down from their own 5-yard line early in the fourth quarter, it would have been understandable if Steelers Nation was anxious watching Joshua Dobbs take his first meaningful snap at quarterback with Ben Roethlisberger sidelined. But those fears were quickly dismissed when the young quarterback threw an impressive 22-yard strike to JuJu Smith-Schuster for the first pass of his NFL career.
Dobbs, as cool as you like on his only play of relief. pic.twitter.com/jw1m6dFMIb— Patrick Brown (@pbrown247) November 4, 2018
While Roethlisberger would return to field on the following play and take the Steelers the rest of the way, the brief appearance by Dobbs was critical to keeping the scoring drive alive. With the offense close to their own goal line and a backup quarterback in the game, it was something of a surprise to see a pass play, but it turns out a run was actually the call all along.
Speaking with reporters after the game, Roethlisberger confirmed that his young backup had called an audible on the play, checking to a pass with devastating effect and impressing the veteran starter at the same time.
“Awesome,” said Roethlisberger when asked about the play. “Can’t say enough about it, it was a run play that he checked to a pass and he was awesome. ... I almost left Josh in after that play.”
“Josh prepares every day, every week, like he is the starter, and that’s what you ask from a backup. A guy that can go in there at any time, on a moment’s notice and make a play. And not just come in and hand the ball off. We expect him to make that big play, and that was a huge play he made.
As relieved as Dobbs will have been to know Roethlisberger wasn’t seriously injured on the play that sidelined him, it would have been understandable if he’d hoped to see more than one snap. Ultimately, the former Tennessee product was just happy to have had a chance to play.
“It meant a lot. It shows you how you have to take advantage of the opportunities, because you don’t know when they’ll come, you don’t know how few in between there will be. But when you get them, you have to make the most of them.”
Prior to Week 9, the only opportunities that Dobbs has seen so far this season have come on kneel-down plays at the end of a game. A stat line of two runs for minus two yards in situations that gave him no room to audible were hardly learning experiences, but the first-year quarterback is sure to take something positive from this latest game action and he should enjoy his 118.8 lifetime quarterback rating while it lasts.