KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger raised some eyebrows forward of their wild-card recreation towards the defending AFC champion Chiefs on Sunday evening when he admitted that “we in all probability aren’t imagined to be right here.”

Effectively, he wasn’t improper.

After taking an early lead on T.J. Watt’s fumble return for a landing, the Steelers watched Patrick Mahomes information the Chiefs to 6 consecutive landing drives. So by the point Roethlisberger lastly led Pittsburgh previous midfield for the primary time, halfway by way of the third quarter, the result of what was doubtless his remaining recreation had been determined.

The Chiefs superior to face Buffalo within the divisional spherical subsequent Sunday evening with a 42-21 blowout of the Steelers.

“I imply, shoot, we thought final week was going to be the top,” Roethlisberger mentioned. “We obtained blessed to play one other soccer recreation. Did not finish the best way we wished it to, but it surely’s a blessing to play this soccer recreation. How fortunate are we that we get to play soccer for a residing? We’ve got to depend our blessings.”

Nonetheless, it was the Steelers’ fourth straight playoff loss — their final win got here within the divisional spherical in Kansas Metropolis nearly 5 years in the past to the day _– and in every they trailed by a minimum of 21 factors. Two of these defeats got here at residence when Pittsburgh was a heavy favourite, together with a wild-card loss to the Browns final season.

The distinction this time? For Roethlisberger, it seems there will not be a subsequent time.

The six-time Professional Bowl quarterback, who returned the Steelers to prominence with a pair of Tremendous Bowl wins, made it clear he expects this season to be his final. And if that is the case, the efficiency by the 39-year-old Roethlisberger in his twenty third profession playoff begin _ tied for fourth with Joe Montana amongst all NFL quarterbacks _ shall be one to overlook.

His passes fluttered. They floated. They actually lacked the zip they’d early in his profession.

Additionally they did not produce sufficient offense.

The Steelers went three-and-out on their first three collection. They punted on their first seven, a streak solely interrupted by Najee Harris dropping his first profession fumble. Certainly, it wasn’t till there have been 6 1/2 minutes left within the third quarter, and the Chiefs already led 35-7, that Roethlisberger even managed to maneuver Pittsburgh previous the 50-yard line.

He was truly fairly sharp on that drive, hitting all eight of his throws with a TD cross to Diontae Johnson. However the remainder of the sport, Roethlisberger was about as boring as could possibly be. He was 29 of 44 for 215 yards passing.

“He is one particular, distinctive man,” Steelers broad receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster mentioned. “After I first got here in, I inform all people, I used to look at Massive Ben and I at all times questioned what it was prefer to be in that huddle, to go down area and rating the successful landing. Quick-forward 10 years and I am in that huddle. I may give my profession to that man, all the things he is performed up till now. I admire him a lot.”

Roethlisberger got here into the sport with 5,757 yards passing within the postseason, and wanted simply 99 extra to leap Montana and Brett Favre on the profession listing. However it appeared like that might be a stretch at halftime, when the Chiefs have been dominating the Pittsburgh offensive line and Roethlisberger was 5 of 14 for twenty-four yards.

He lastly obtained the yardage he wanted on a throw to Chase Claypool with 12 1/2 minutes left within the recreation. It was good for another line in his profession portfolio that’s already full, and simply would possibly at some point land him within the Corridor of Fame.

“I simply instructed him I’ve a lot respect for him,” mentioned Mahomes, who sought Roethlisberger out after the sport. “I watched him rising up and the best way he performs the sport, he competes to the very finish. And he did that this complete total season and who is aware of what the longer term is, but it surely was nice to be right here and witness him.”

Roethlisberger gained 165 video games, threw for greater than 64,000 yards and stored the success going by way of tons of of teammates and loads of controversy and drama. His profession started with successful the AFC Offensive Rookie of the Yr award and it ended with Roethlisberger main a workforce few thought playoff-worthy to the postseason.

“I’ll say I am actually pleased with the best way guys fought,” he mentioned. “We had guys, whether or not it was linesmen or backs or receivers or tight ends, step up and actually fought to the top. Guys by no means give up, even to the final second, even when it was out of our grasp. I am simply so proud to name these guys brothers and play for them.”


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