There are three things I had never seen before in an NFL game.
1. A left guard pulling back and taking a reverse, then throwing it downfield for a touchdown.
1. The Baltimore Ravens doing something classy.
1. A blocked pooch punt.
And then there were two.
Ben Roethlisberger truly embarrassed himself in front of the world yesterday when his little quick kick on fourth-and-4 from the Indianapolis 34 was blocked by Colts linebacker Jonathan Newsome.
The Steelers held on to win the boring game, 51-34, but all anyone will remember from the contest was Big Ben flubbing his boot directly into Newsome.
“I let the team down,” Roethlisberger said. “I apologize to the fans and the Rooneys, who pay me well to pooch punt and I failed them. I plan to correct this problem by using my dominant foot from now on instead of pretending I’m ambidextrous like that deceptive fencer guy using his left hand in Princess Bride.”
(Ben knows something that you don’t know. He is not left-footed.)
Oh, all right. We’ll let you off the hook. Don’t worry, Big Ben, Steelers Nation forgives you for that little pooching gaffe.
Like baseball players ignoring the rookie who just returned to the dugout after belting his first home run, we can only feign obliviousness of what Roethlisberger just accomplished for so long before enthusiastically mobbing him and patting him on the back.
After all, Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger Sr. just turned in one of the best statistical performances by a quarterback in NFL history.
Perhaps the best.
Don’t believe it? Let the stats do the talking.
Roethlisberger’s final numbers were 40 for 49, 522 yards, six touchdowns, zero interceptions.
Only three quarterbacks — Norm Van Brocklin (554), Warren Moon (527) and Matt Schaub (527) ever threw for more yards in a game and none of them had six touchdowns. Two of them (Van Brocklin, Schaub) threw two interceptions while the other (Moon) only had three TD tosses.
Boomer Esiason also once piled up 522 passing yards but he was picked four times, so that easily knocks him out.
Perhaps the best way to separate the guys at the top (all four monster games came in wins) is completion percentage: Van Brocklin (66 percent), Schaub (78 percent), Moon (60 percent) and Roethlisberger (82 percent).
And he also is the only quarterback ever to have thrown for more than 500 twice. So there’s that.
Finally, here are their passer ratings: Van Brocklin (128.3), Schaub (121.7), Moon (123.1) and Roethlisberger (150.6).
Just call him Biggest Ben.
Somehow Roethlisberger’s game, based upon that goofy passer rating system, was not a perfect 158.3 — whereas his three career perfectos were all much lesser efforts of just 218, 209 and 261 yards.
Considering this is an organization that once force-fed Hines Ward a shovel pass for his 1000th career reception and recently agreed to its quarterback’s request to flip an unnecessary pass late in the fourth quarter to keep Antonio Brown’s record “five catches a game” streak going, it’s surprising the Steelers didn’t allow Roethlisberger a chance at the record.
The Steelers ran six plays from scrimmage in the final three minutes, so hey, why not let Brown return the favor by hauling in a safe screen pass and rambling 33 yards to notch the all-time mark?
*Then again, Roethlisberger’s would-be record of 555 would have had an asterisk next to it anyways.
*Had pooch punt blocked.
(Steve Treu covers the Steelers for The News.)