Clutch play separates Roethlisberger and Dallas Cowboys' Romo
09:01 PM CST on Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Sometimes we get so consumed with stats that we forget that winning and losing are really all that matters.
That's why Ben Roethlisberger is better than Tony Romo.
You wouldn't have convinced me of that a few months ago because Roethlisberger, who had 17 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions this season, usually plays such an ugly game.
Like so many others, I put too much credence on stats and style and not enough on performance and substance.
But when you watch Roethlisberger struggle for three quarters against Dallas before leading the Steelers on their only touchdown drive – eight plays and 67 yards – with 2:04 left, setting up Deshea Townsend's interception return for a touchdown in the Steelers' 20-13 win over Dallas, it affects you.
Just as it affects you when you watch Roethlisberger lead the Steelers on a game-winning touchdown drive in the Super Bowl after seeing the Cardinals take an improbable 23-20 lead with less than three minutes left.
At winning time, Roethlisberger plays his best. And he does it when it matters most. It doesn't matter what Roethlisberger has done in the first three quarters. Everyone on the field and in the stadium knows he's going to get it done at the end of the game.
As long as there's time on the clock, Roethlisberger thinks he's going to win. Those are among the reasons he has two Super Bowl championships in his first five seasons.
Romo had a 114.7 rating with nine touchdowns and an interception in the fourth quarter of games this season. He had a 97.4 passer rating with nine touchdowns and four interceptions on third down, the most important down in football.
He's 27-12 as a starter.
None of that matters because he's 0-2 as a playoff starter and the Cowboys were humbled, 44-6, in a win-and-get-in game against Philadelphia in the regular-season finale.
We shouldn't have been surprised considering he had a 67.9 rating with five touchdowns and six interceptions in December.
We question Romo's leadership, commitment and preparation because he hasn't played his best football when it has mattered most. Until he does, his gaudy stats won't matter because they lack substance.