Big Ben’s Most Memorable Game Each Year: Pt 1 (’04-’06)

February 14, 2022

Ben Roethlisberger has played in 18 seasons for the Steelers for what should transform into a Hall of Fame enshrinement in 2027. Here’s a look back at Big Ben’s most memorable games each year from 2004 through 2006.

2004: Steelers 34, Patriots 20 (Week 8)

Big Ben
Courtesy of USA Today.

The Patriots were the defending Super Bowl Champions and had won 21 straight NFL games dating back to Week 5 in 2003. The Steelers had named Ben Roethlisberger as the team’s starting QB just a few games earlier and he started off hot. The Steelers were coming off a bye week and had a 5-1 record entering the Halloween game against the Patriots. Big Ben threw 2 TD passes to Plaxico Burress in the first quarter. The Steelers then got off to a 31-10 lead early in the 3rd quarter.

The Steelers closed the deal by winning 34-20, thus ending the Patriots streak. They went on to go undefeated the rest of the way. The 2004 Steelers had their best record in franchise history at 15-1. They looked to win the Super Bowl in Roethlisberger’s rookie season but that wasn’t the case. The Steelers hosted the Patriots once again in the AFC Championship but were taken down by a score of 41-27.

2005: Steelers 21, Colts 18 (AFC Divisional Round)

After a 7-5 start, the Steelers squeaked into the playoffs and defeated the Bengals in the Wildcard round 31-17. The Steelers faced off against the mighty Colts who had the best record in the NFL and the Steelers were 8.5-point underdogs against them. In the regular season, the Steelers lost to the Colts 26-7 in a game in which Roethlisberger was sacked three times and threw two interceptions. The Steelers were a new team and got off strong. Big Ben threw two touchdowns in the first quarter and the Steeler’s defense held strong against Peyton Manning.

The Steelers had a 21-3 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter, but the Colts came back to make it 21-18. With 1:20 left in the game at the Colts 2-yard line, Jerome Bettis fumbled the ball while trying to seal the game. Colts defender Nick Harper scooped the ball and returned it near midfield until Ben Roethlisberger made a shoestring tackle to prevent a potential game-winning touchdown for the Colts. Big Ben’s tackle lived in Steelers lore for decades to come. The Colts missed a 46-yard field goal to send the game to overtime and the Steelers became the first-ever number six seed to advance to the Conference Championship. The Steelers defeated the Broncos 34-17 and then the Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL.

2006: Steelers 23, Bengals 17 (Week 17)

The Steelers had a very disappointing 2006 season with a 2-6 start, but it still ended on a high note. The Steelers rode into Cincinnati without anything to play for other than rival bragging rights. On the other hand, the Bengals were looking to clinch a playoff spot with a win and earn a trip to Indianapolis for the Wildcard round. Ben Roethlisberger had an average game and couldn’t get much to go his way offensively.

With less than two minutes to go and down 17-14, Roethlisberger led a drive to tie the game with a field goal. The Bengals got the ball back but missed a 39-yard field goal that would’ve given them the win. The game went into overtime and on the third play, Big Ben threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes to spoil the Bengals playoff hopes.

From 2004-2006, Big Ben had a 29-11 overall record, 52-43 TD-INT ratio, 207.8 yards per game, and an 87.9 passer rating.