Ben Roethlisberger sealed the Steelers' loss to the Patriots on Sunday -- -- when he threw a last-second interception in the end zone instead of spiking the ball to set up a chip-shot, game-tying field goal. After the game, Big Ben explained why he didn't kill the clock with a spike.
He told reporters that he wanted to spike the ball, but the sideline told him to run a play.
"It wasn't a fake spike," he said. "I was yelling 'clock it' because I felt like that was the thing to do, was clock it and get yourself one play. And it came from the sideline, 'Don't clock it. Don't clock it.' Well, at that time, everyone thinks it's clocked so you don't have any time to get everyone lined up. ... Eli (Rogers) kinda ran a quick slant in there and at that time you just got to try to make a big play. And I didn't make a good enough throw."
But according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, Roethlisberger had two plays to choose from. And he chose to fake-spike it.
Big Ben had 2 plays called to choose from on what turned out to be final Steelers play. Decision to fake-spike and throw was his— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 18, 2017
It didn't work out well. He tried to hit Eli Rogers on a slant, but his pass got deflected and landed in the arms of Duron Harmon, effectively ending the game and handing the AFC's No. 1 seed to the Patriots.
Of course, the Steelers can also point to the replay review two plays earlier as the reason for their loss, when the officials overturned a Jesse James touchdown because he didn't complete the process of the catch. That touchdown would've given the Steelers a lead that likely would've held up considering how little time remained.
But the Steelers can only blame themselves for the way the game ended. For one,And two, if they hadn't botched the final two plays, they would've at least survived for overtime. It's not that Big Ben's decision -- or the sideline's decision -- to run another play was awful. It's that the play itself was truly terrible -- from the fact that only one player ran a route to Big Ben's decision to throw the ball into traffic. If no one was open, he should've just tossed the ball into the stands instead of risking a turnover.
The good news for the Steelers is that they might get another shot at the Patriots in January. The bad news for the Steelers is that the rematch will likely take place in New England.