NFL Playoffs, Pittsburgh Steelers

Watch Ben Roethlisberger freeze up instead of recovering fumble (Video)

Ben Roethlisberger made no effort in trying to recover a fumble off a failed snap from center Maurkice Pouncey?

Remember back in 2016 when then-Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton received flak from pundits and fans for not attempting to recover a fumble in Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos. Yeah, we’re going to need you to bring that energy to Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Roethlisberger’s start to his Wild Card Round matchup against the Cleveland Browns got off to a disastrous start. On the very first play, center Maurkice Pouncey unleashed a terrible snap over the quarterback’s head, a la Manny Ramirez to Peyton Manning in Super Bowl 48. Roethlisberger ran back for the football, but he didn’t make an effort to recover it. Instead, he let running back James Conner get it. Conner failed to do so, allowing the Browns to recover in the end zone to give them an early 7-0 lead.

Roethlisberger freezes up

This, folks, is what you call a business decision. That’s the only way to explain why Roethlisberger opted to watch the football instead of diving on top of it.

Roethlisberger’s hellish start to Sunday night only got worse. On the seventh play on the following drive, “Big Ben” threw a pass intended for running back Benny Snell, only for it to get intercepted by cornerback MJ Stewart. The Browns would capitalize three plays later with a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield to wide receiver Jarvis Landry to extend their lead to 14-0.  One drive later, the Browns further extended their lead on a 11-yard touchdown run by Kareem Hunt.

Entering this game, the Browns were without head coach Kevin Stefanski, cornerback Denzel Ward, offensive lineman Joe Bitonio, cornerback Kevin Johnson and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodges due to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol. The Steelers were heavy favorites entering the game, and all it took was one bad snap to send Pittsburgh into a downward spiral.

Would the Steelers would be down so far on the scoreboard if only Roethlisberger had recovered the fumble? We’ll never know.

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