The Steelers' defense had coughed up a two-touchdown lead in a matter of minutes. After Detroit scored 27 points in the second quarter in Pittsburgh, this wayward Steelers season looked ready to implode beyond repair -- finally.
And then a funny thing happened. The Steelers' defense shut down the Lions for the entire second half. Pittsburgh's slowly improving offense put together two consecutive touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, including a 97-yard march, the longest of Ben Roethlisberger's career.
"Maybe I made myself more tradeable," Roethlisberger joked after the game, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Big Ben's comments, of course, were in reference to the reporting by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. Mr. Rapsheet has steadfastly reported that Roethlisberger is frustrated in Pittsburgh and could seek a trade this offseason. The frustration primarily comes from money issues. (Doesn't it always?)
"Someone asked me during the week if I felt the need to say something to my teammates," Roethlisberger said. "I really didn't. I didn't think it was worth talking about. They know how I feel about them and this team. They know I don't want to go anywhere. A lot of guys came up to me and said, 'Ben, don't worry about it. It's ridiculous. Just play your game.' "
Roethlisberger has made a lot of vague statements about wanting to remain with the Steelers. The Steelers have never said they won't trade him. Big Ben has never stated he's happy with his contract. We'd argue he's one of the most underpaid top quarterbacks in the league, and he'd agree.
Big Ben was joking with his "tradeable" comments, but his performance down the stretch will help determine his offseason value. This story comes back to money. And there is no better way to earn some money than to pile up four-touchdown games on the way to a surprising playoff berth.