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The Steelers played ugly, but they were determined to get Ben Roethlisberger the win

The Steelers won ugly against the Browns at Heinz Field on Monday Night Football. Given that it was Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game, I’d say that was rather fitting.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers are not an offensive juggernaut. In fact, they’re not a juggernaut in any sense of the word.

I think we all knew that as Pittsburgh prepared to play the Browns at Heinz Field on Monday Night Football, but there was that hope that the team would put on a show for the man, I’m talking about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was (I think it’s pretty safe to assume now) playing in his final home game.

Unfortunately, while the Steelers did put on a show, it wasn’t a glorious one, as they bested the Browns, 26-14, to remain alive in the AFC playoff race with one game to go.

The offense was what the offense has been most of the season: hard to watch. But the offensive line played well. As for running back Najee Harris, he ran hard, he ran well, and he ran effectively, tallying 188 yards on 28 carries and put the game on ice with a 37-yard td scamper with time running out.

The defense did put on a show, something it did the last time the Steelers took on Cleveland. The unit made life miserable for quarterback Baker Mayfield, sacking him nine times—including four by T.J. Watt—and intercepting him twice.

Everyone played with heart. Everyone played with pride. Everyone played with emotion.

Does it matter if the game wasn’t pretty? In this case, it doesn’t because Monday night was about Roethlisberger, and even if he didn’t exactly shine—I’m not sure the old cowboy would consider a stat line that reads 23 of 46 for 123 yards, one touchdown and one interception to be one of his finest performances as a pro—he won the game. His team won the game. His team defeated the home-state franchise that refused to draft him way back in 2004. He beat the team he mostly always has during his storied career.

In the end, doesn’t that sum up Roethlisberger’s career? Yes, there’s the ego satisfying aspect of Monday’s outcome—No. 7 showed the Browns one last time why they made a huge mistake on draft day back in 2004. But, for all of his faults, for all of his drama and, yes, the egotistical tendencies that most franchise quarterbacks possess, Roethlisberger has always been sincere and genuine about one thing: winning is all that’s mattered to him.

Just win the game. Just find a way. Just get it done.

Roethlisberger has done that better than most quarterbacks throughout the history of the NFL.

It’s popular to say that Roethlisberger’s style is unorthodox and maybe even a little ugly.

That’s never been true—when he did his thing during his prime years (scrambling, keeping plays alive, etc.)—it was a work of art.

But Big Ben has never worried about winning ugly. He’s never been afraid to get down and dirty and just find a way to get the job done.

It was fitting that the final home game of Ben Roethlisberger's career against the Browns on Monday night encapsulated that attitude perfectly.