With the game on the line, Ben Roethlisberger looked at second-year pro Markus Wheaton, put all his faith in the first-time starter and audibled out of the original play call.
Wheaton didn't just respond by running the correct route, but by making the play that ultimately led to the Pittsburgh Steelers' game-winning field goal with five seconds left.
"It was an adjustment with about five seconds left on the play clock. We changed the play. To me, that's why we put the work in and why credit goes out to those guys. I know we laughed about the pizza and wings quiz and all that. That's where it comes from. We make an adjustment at the last minute and no one blinks, no one flinches. They run the proper play, and we get into field-goal range." Ben Roethlisberger said after the game.
"My hat goes off to Markus Wheaton for making the adjustment. I threw it before he came out of his break. He turned his head and found the ball and made a great catch. Kudos to him."
What prompted Roethlisberger to change the play? The defense tipped their hand. "They showed a coverage that the initial play we called wasn't going to be a good with. I just changed him from running one route to running another".
It's that type of leadership and cohesion with his receivers that makes Roethlisberger not just a good quarterback, but a great quarterback. However, just as Roethlisberger said after the victory, give credit to Wheaton for being on the same page as Roethlisberger, something that didn't always happen this preseason.
"We got the coverage that we didn't want, actually." Wheaton said in the Steelers' locker room. "Ben checked to something else. It ended up being a big one for us. The middle was wide open. He anticipated it real well and threw a great ball. It made it easy for me, and it worked out."
The Steelers offense will again have to be on point if they plan on starting the season 2-0 by defeating the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium this Thursday night.