Plays of the Year: Ben Roethlisberger’s first touchdown pass since December 2018

Steel City Underground presents “Plays of the Year” featuring the top runs, catches, hits and everything else in-between from the Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 season.

It had been a long time coming. Ben Roethlisberger, returned on Monday Night Football during Week 1 of the 2020 regular season after missing all but a game and a half in 2019.

The future Hall of Famer had not thrown a touchdown pass since December 30th, 2018 in a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, with many wondering if he could return to form following an elbow injury that required months of rehab.

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Roethlisberger, who played against the Patriots in Week 1 and one half against the Seahawks in Week 2 of the 2019 season, failed to connect with any receivers for a score in those games, before being placed on the injured reserve list, and missing the remaining 14 games last year.

On a comeback tour in 2020, Big Ben praised his training regime and rehabilitation, stating he felt younger and fresher than he has in years. But as he entered this game, his first true football action in close to a full calendar year, he admitted he might “shake like a leaf” when he finally got the opportunity to play again.

Ben had to bide his time during the Steelers clash on the road against the Giants, as Pittsburgh’s offense didn’t see the ball until 10:34 in the first quarter. After running it twice and tossing a backwards pass (technically labeled a fumble in the game stats) the Steelers first drive without a true Roethlisberger pass attempt.

Roethlisberger got in rhythm during the Steelers second drive, which ended on the Giants 23-yard line with a Chris Boswell field goal.

Down 10-3, a T.J. Watt interception gave Pittsburgh the ball: and Big Ben the opportunity he needed to show he was back to full form.

A 3rd-and-1 play saw Roethlisberger connect with new Steelers tight end Eric Ebron for 18 yards. A short three-yard pass to the other tight end, Vance McDonald, showed that Ben was mostly looking for his security blankets, but he would go all-in on a rainbow of a throw that seemed like it was in slow motion arriving to a wide-open JuJu Smith-Schuster.

The 10-yard connection would be Ben’s first touchdown since that date in late 2018, his first of the 2020 season, and the first of three on the day as the Steelers would coast to a 26-16 win over the Giants.

The connection would place Roethlisberger 8th all-time in league history for most touchdown passes, 366, tied with Eli Manning.

Ben also moved into rare territory among the greats with three or more touchdown tosses in a game as well.

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