But after a brilliant fourth-quarter comeback to overcome an awful first three quarters, Roethlisberger relished in a 20-16 win that quieted Jacksonville’s chirp.
“They are a really good defense. They like to talk a lot — before the game, during the game,” said Roethlisberger, whose diving 1-yard touchdown with five seconds to go sealed the game. “But I’m carrying the game ball home.”
Roethlisberger orchestrated late touchdown drives of 80 and 68 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to Vance McDonald with 2:38 left.
But he’s struggled mightily with turnovers against Jacksonville, which intercepted him three times Sunday and has turned over the quarterback 10 times in three meetings dating back to last year.
In August, cornerback Jalen Ramsey — owner of two interceptions Sunday — called Roethlisberger “decent at best” in a GQ interview, noting he “ain’t all that” because Antonio Brown makes the offense go.
Before the offense got hot Sunday, Roethlisberger got a mouthful from linebacker Telvin Smith.
“They have a linebacker, No. 50 — we’ll just use numbers, we won’t have to say names — that wanted to let me know every time I threw an interception,” Roethlisberger said. “He found me, and told me how many interceptions I threw. It was a little motivation to come back and win the game. “
Roethlisberger was 11-of-24 for 66 yards through the game’s first 44 minutes but finished with 314 yards as the Steelers offense went no-huddle attack.
A 25-yard pass to Brown over the middle got the Steelers to the 2-yard line in the final minute. From there, Roethlisberger spiked the ball to stop the clock. The Jaguars committed a facemask penalty in coverage on a passing play. Roethlisberger threw an incompletion. Finally, with 8 seconds left, Roethlisberger rolled to his right on a shovel play and stretched for the goal line when his passing options were covered. The nose of the football barely crossed the goal line.
“Legendary play,” guard Ramon Foster said.
Roethlisberger said he didn’t get a chance to talk with Ramsey after the game, but he completed 5-of-6 passes in the fourth quarter when Ramsey was the nearest defender.
“It’s pretty special,” said guard David DeCastro about playing with Roethlisberger. “I’m lucky to be able to catch him at this part of his career and be able to block for him.”