Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger: 'I'll take the blame' for game-sealing interception

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on Tuesday that in hindsight, he should have trusted his intuition and not thrown the ball that became the game-sealing interception in his team’s loss to the New England Patriots.

Making his weekly appearance on Pittsburgh radio station 93.7 The Fan, Roethlisberger was of course asked to re-live the final moments of the game, from the Jesse James non-touchdown call to the Steelers’ final play, when a pass thrown for Eli Rogers in the end zone was batted up and intercepted by the Patriots’ Duron Harmon.

Roethlisberger wanted to spike the ball, but according to him, coaches wanted him to run a play.

“I’m yelling ‘clock-clock’ … the (offensive) line knows when they hear ‘clock’ you snap it and you just protect the inside,” Roethlisberger said.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took the blame for his late-game interception against the New England Patriots. (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took the blame for his late-game interception against the New England Patriots. (AP)

So most of the offense was expecting the veteran to spike the ball, but Roethlisberger ran a play, a slant to Rogers, instead of chucking it into the stands when it was clear there was confusion.

“At that moment, the only thing I can do is give a receiver a quick hand signal to run a quick route and try and hold the ball long enough because, like I said, the line is not blocking in protection, they’re basically just lining up,” Roethlisberger said. “And in that moment as I’m thinking in my head ‘Do I spike it? Do I not?’ I went with, and I probably wish I would have listened to my gut now obviously in hindsight, I should have listened to that instead of listening to running a play and I just tried to make a play to Eli. I don’t regret it, I just wish I would had made a better throw. I’ll take the blame for the interception at the end of the game.”

Had he spiked the ball or thrown it away, the Steelers could have attempted a short field goal on fourth down to tie the game and force overtime.

Of course, Roethlisberger believes James completed his touchdown catch two plays earlier.

“I think Jesse caught that ball,” he said. “I felt like he caught it. He brought it into his body and then reached out and then yeah, when he hit the ground it came loose, but I felt like the reach is credit of the football move … it’s a touchdown.”

He added that he believes officials are calling too many penalties now, saying that, “it’s like almost every snap there seems to be a penalty and whether it’s warranted or unwarranted, it just seems like there’s a lot of penalties being called nowadays.”

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