5 things: Ben Roethlisberger hits historical highs, lows in final game at Heinz Field – TribLIVE

5 things: Ben Roethlisberger hits historical highs, lows in final game at Heinz Field – TribLIVE
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Five things we learned from Steelers 26, Browns 14:

1. By the numbers

Some things to digest as Ben Roethlisberger prepares to exit the NFL after 18 seasons:

• His 248 games in the regular season rank sixth on the all-time list among quarterbacks and are third with one franchise.

• His domination of the Browns in the regular season continued. Not only did Roethlisberger improve to 13-0 at Heinz Field against Cleveland in the regular season, his overall record is 25-2-1. Those 25 wins rank fourth in NFL history in terms of victories for a quarterback against one opponent. Roethlisberger also will finish with 24 wins against Cincinnati.

• His 164 career victories put him fifth on the all-time list, and his 92 wins at Heinz Field are third-most for any quarterback at one venue. He also ranks fourth with 236 touchdown passes at one venue and third with his 32,619 yards at home.

2. Historical low

Roethlisberger’s swan song at Heinz Field will be remembered for the cheers and emotions displayed before, during and after the win that kept the Steelers’ postseason hopes alive.

It won’t be remembered for the 39-year-old quarterback’s play.

Roethlisberger’s stats hit a low point in several categories.

He attempted 46 passes, his second highest total of the season. He had 24 completions, but was just 4 of 12 for 27 yards in the second half.

Not only were his 123 passing yards a season low, it was the least productive game of his 18-year career. He had five lower yardage totals but never attempted more than 18 passes in any of those games.

Roethlisberger’s 2.7 yards per attempt also was the lowest of his 246 career regular-season starts. The only other time Roethlisberger had a game in which he averaged fewer than 4.35 yards per attempt came in 2008 against Washington. In that game, he averaged 2.94 yards per attempt when he completed 5 of 17 passes for 50 yards. He left that game at halftime after injuring his shoulder, and Byron Leftwich played the second half of the 23-6 victory.

Roethlisberger, though, engineered a first-half touchdown drive for the first time in six weeks, and he never let the lead slip away.

3. Back on top

The nine sacks the Steelers had against Baker Mayfield vaulted them back into the top spot in the NFL.

The Steelers will enter the season finale at Baltimore with 52 sacks. They have a five-sack lead on the Los Angeles Rams, and if they hold on will become the first team in NFL history to lead the league in sacks for five consecutive seasons. They already are the only team to do it four years in a row.

Another impressive feat is that the Steelers have reached 50 sacks five years in a row, the first team to do that since Washington, Chicago and Dallas, who each accomplished it from 1983-87.

And T.J. Watt, of course, is one sack from tying the NFL single-season record of 22.5 sacks set by Michael Strahan in 2001. He is the 12th player to reach 20 sacks in a season since the stat became official in 1982.

4. Given a pass

For the second time this season, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski had a game plan that called for Cleveland to emphasize the pass while facing a Steelers rush defense that, entering Monday night, was the worst in the league.

Baker Mayfield attempted 38 passes, completing 16, for 185 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Mayfield finished with a 53.1 passer rating.

Nick Chubb carried just 12 times for 58 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. As a team, the Browns rushed for 93 yards on 20 carries, a 4.7 average.

Thanks to that game plan, the Steelers held the Browns under 100 rushing yards for the second time this season. The only other teams that didn’t reach triple digits against the Steelers were Las Vegas and Cincinnati in the second and third games of the season.

In the first matchup, a 15-10 Steelers victory on Halloween, the Browns gained 96 rushing yards on 23 attempts. Mayfield threw 31 passes in that one.

At one point Monday night, Mayfield had a 0.0 passer rating. That occurred in the second quarter when he threw an interception to Ahkello Witherspoon. He was 1 of 10 for 20 yards at that stage, and his rating actually registered at 1.7 when his next pass fell incomplete.

5. Special ups, downs

In his second game with the Steelers, Corliss Waitman continues to state his case for being part of the punting competition in 2022. He had a 48.8-yard average on five punts, and a respectable 43.0 net average. Chris Boswell, meanwhile, was perfect again on four field-goal tries.

Not all was positive on special teams. The first time the Browns lined up to punt, the Steelers didn’t have a return man on the field. And Justin Layne was flagged twice — one for a facemask and once for an illegal shift.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at jrutter@triblive.com or via Twitter .