Eli Manning has proven that he is indeed a cool cat. Some of his biggest games have come from a 4th quarter comeback drive. His biggest prior to last night came in Super Bowl XLII when he mastered a game winning drive capped with a touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with :17 left in the game.
This season was just as brilliant as that drive back in 2008. He had seven… SEVEN game winning 4th quarter drives this season, including one against the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. He can now notch last night’s Super Bowl win as the biggest game of his career and making it his eighth comeback this season.
The dude is as cool as ice and is clutch, there’s not doubt. The Steelers have their own clutch QB in Ben Roethlisberger. But who would you rather have when there’s 2:00-3:00 minutes left on the clock and 80 yards or more to go in order to win the game?
Ask any fan of Steeler Nation, and they will tell you that they would rather have Ben Roethlisberger as their QB in any situation – especially when it comes to clutch moments such as a game winning drive in the final minutes. The loyalty is undeniably there. But how does Ben stack up statistically against Eli? Well let’s take a look….
Let it be noted that both of these guys started their NFL careers in 2004
In eight seasons Roethlisberger has accumulated the following stats:
G: 114 Attempts: 3,313 Comp.: 2,090 %: 63.1% Yds: 26,579 Yds/Game: 233.1 TD’s: 165 Int’s: 100
Roethlisberger’s style of play is dictated by his feet then his arm. He is a master at scrambling out of the pocket and making something out of nothing. And not only does he make something out of nothing, it usually turns into a big play. He wreaks havoc for defenses – ducking and escaping the grasp of defensive linemen and linebackers, then having the speed to get outside for a sideline pass that nets 25 yards and a clutch first down. He can do it with his arm and with his legs if necessary. Roethlisberger is the true Iron Man in the NFL. He’s played every season since his rookie season with some type of injury. Some are minor, but most are severe enough that would test the fortitude of any quarterback in this league.
Big Ben has two Super Bowls under his belt. One came in 2009 when he mounted one of the most amazing drives in Super Bowl history in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played. On their own 18 yard line with 2 timeouts and 2:37 left in the game, Roethlisberger orchestrated an 8 play 72-yard drive (82 if you count the yardage they needed to make up from the 1st play holding call) that ended with an amazing throw to and an equally amazing catch by Santonio Holmes with :35 left in the game. He went 21/30 for the game with that touchdown pass to Holmes being the only and biggest one of the game. Holmes was named MVP of the game because he totaled 9 receptions for 139 yards. But it was clearly Roethlisberger and his ability to keep the drive alive at the end that made the difference.
Speaking of come back wins, Big Ben is 20th on the all time list with 20 4th quarter comeback wins (including playoffs). He’s the youngest guy on that list and that far up the chain. Peyton Manning (35), Tom Brady (24) and Kerry Collins (21) are the only other active players with more. His biggest year was back in 2008 when he had six – all six were consecutive and spanned from Week 14 all they way through the Super Bowl. Pretty damn impressive (and very similar to Eli from this season when we get to him).
There’s no doubt that Big Ben is a big gamer. He knows how to win and has the heart to never count himself or his team out of a game (SF this season ring a bell?). He is big time clutch and is one of the elite QB’s in the league for it as well as his other impressive career stats. Now onto Manning….