The Steelers playoffs hopes took a significant shot during Sunday’s action, with most of the outcomes the team needing going the other way. But that doesn't mean the Pittsburgh Steelers have nothing to play for in Weeks 17 and 18. With franchise cornerstone, and future Hall of Fame quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger’s career winding down the Steelers winning the last couple games on the schedule would be the perfect goodbye. Considering the opponent this week, it would be the best send off imaginable if the black and gold can get one more win over Roethlisberger’s hated Cleveland Browns.
Roethlisberger has always loved beating the Browns, and a lot of that stems back to 2004, during the NFL Draft. The Browns held the No. 6 pick in the draft, and with Eli Manning and Philip Rivers off of the board, the next best available quarterback was Roethlisberger. Instead of drafting the Ohio native and the star signal caller from the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks, they settled on University of Miami (Florida) Tight End Kellen Winslow. Oh, and the Browns rolled into the 2004 season with Jeff Garcia, Kelly Holcomb, and rookie Luke McCown at quarterback. In the draft video you could tell Ben was disappointed he wasn't going to play for his home area Browns, and much like Jack Lambert did 40 years earlier, likely vowed to make life miserable for Browns for the draft day snub.
Throughout the next 18 years Roethlisberger became the winningest quarterback in the history of First Energy Field, the home of the Cleveland Browns. Baker Mayfield would eventually take the crown from Roethlisberger, but you know, he actually plays his home games at First Energy. Roethlisberger also won the Rookie of the Year award in 2004 and quickly won his first Super Bowl in 2005 before doing it again in 2008. The Browns have not come anywhere close to a title over the same time span. Throughout his career Roethlisberger has amassed a 25-3-1 record over the Browns, and has beaten them more than any other team in his career.
You could tell last January’s Wild Card loss to the Browns really affected Roethlisberger. To me, him coming back this season was more about avenging that loss than anything else. Roethlisberger wanted to get back at the Browns and he has already done it once beating the Browns once again in their own building. Now he has one last opportunity to beat the team that snubbed him all of those years ago. Sure, beating the Ravens and Bengals means something to the veteran passer, but beating the Browns clearly has meant so much more. One more win on Monday night would be as close to a storybook ending for No. 7 as possible with only another Super Bowl being greater. He wants this game, and I hope his team goes out and fights for one for him.
But what do you think? Will Big Ben get one more win against the Browns? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.