There are plenty of things from the Patriots’ 27-24 win over the Steelers being dissected on Monday morning, but the biggest may be the Steelers’ final offensive play of the game.
After a short completion to Darrius Heyward-Bey on the Patriots’ 7-yard-line with seconds to play, the Steelers rushed to the line for what many expected would be a spike to stop the clock and set up a game-tying field goal. Ben Roethlisberger took the snap and the Steelers offensive line stood up as if a spike were coming, but Roethlisberger pumped the ball and then tried a pass to Eli Rogers on a slant.
Patriots corner Eric Rowe broke up the pass and safety Duron Harmon intercepted it to seal the win for New England. After the game, Roethlisberger explained what happened in the moments leading up to the fateful play.
“It wasn’t a fake spike,” Roethlisberger said, via Alex Marvez of Sporting News. “I was yelling, ‘Clock it!’ I felt like that was the thing to do — clock it and get yourself one play. … It came from the sideline: ‘Don’t clock it! Don’t clock it!’ Well, at that time, everyone thinks it’s a clock [play] so you don’t have time to get everyone lined up.”
Rogers was the only Steelers receiver running a route, something that led to several Patriots defenders bracketing him before Roethlisberger, who said the call to go came from offensive coordinator Todd Haley in his helmet, delivered the pass. That confusion likely contributed to the outcome, which knocked the Steelers out of the top spot in the AFC playoff picture with two games left to play.