TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger wears No. 7 to pay tribute to John Elway. Fittingly, too, since Roethlisberger is the NFL's new king of the comeback.
Roethlisberger calls it playground ball: his Pittsburgh Steelers down or tied in the fourth quarter, the quarterback eluding the pass rush, evading the pocket, getting the ball off with multiple defenders draped over him, making a play that seemingly can't be made.
Just like kids do in the backyard or the schoolyard all the time.
Roethlisberger led a desperation, score-or-lose 78-yard touchdown drive in the final three minutes that ended with his 6-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes to rally the Steelers to a 27-23 victory over Arizona on Sunday night and a record sixth Super Bowl victory.
Thanks to Roethlisberger, maybe now Pittsburgh should be called Sixburgh.
This was the sixth time in 19 games this season that Roethlisberger led a winning drive in the fourth quarter by rallying the Steelers to the lead or a tie in a game they went on to win. For his career, it's comeback No. 19 — well behind Elway's unofficial record 47, but then, this is only Roethlisberger's fifth season.
Roethlisberger joins Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to win two Super Bowls before the age of 27, and he did it the way the best of the best do: By making difficult plays and leading key drives late in games.
Roethlisberger, so nervous and off his game when the Steelers beat Seattle 21-10 in the Super Bowl three years ago that he was barely a factor, was at his big-game best in this one while going 21-of-30 for 256 yards.
The last drive was all about Ben:
_There were scrambling completions of 14 and 13 yards to Holmes.
_An 11-yarder to Nate Washington, once an undrafted rookie who stayed with the Steelers partly because Roethlisberger lobbied hard to keep him.
_An elusive 4-yard, how-did-he-do-that run.
_An improvised 40-yarder to Holmes that looked much like their decisive hookup in the AFC championship game against Baltimore.
The Steelers are now 153-1-1 when leading by 11 or more points in the last 10 years, but only because they avoided the worst fourth-quarter collapse in Super Bowl history after allowing 16 consecutive points before rallying to win.
With Roethlisberger at quarterback, it seems that Big Ben rarely strikes 12 for the Steelers when a game is there to be won in the fourth quarter.
By ALAN ROBINSON