Big Ben: Steelers practice 2-point tries every day, will 'keep doing it' in games

ByJeremy Fowler ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 23, 2015

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers are setting the tone in a new era of 2-point conversions, and that isn't stopping any time soon, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said.

The Steelers are 3-for-3 on 2-point tries in the NFL's first season of extra points attempted from the 15-yard line instead of the 2, tempting offenses to double down because of the increased chances of missed kicks. Last Sunday, Pittsburgh became the first team in 17 years to successfully make a 2-pointer in the first quarter of a game.

"Oh, we're going to keep doing it," Roethlisberger said. "We don't practice it this much to not do it. We practice it every single day. ... I tried to tell you guys early on that we would do it, and I think you guys kind of didn't quite believe it. But it's something we feel comfortable with."

Kickers have missed nine extra-point attempts through two games, compared with eight from all of last season. The nine missed extra points are the most in the NFL since 2010, when 11 extra points were missed all season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

After Heath Miller's 2-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter of Sunday's 43-18 win over San Francisco, the Steelers kept kicker Josh Scobee on the sideline while the offense stayed on the field. The Steelers got the 8-0 lead thanks to Roethlisberger's connection with Antonio Brown in the end zone.

In the second quarter, still no Scobee. Roethlisberger found Miller for a score and a 16-3 lead. Scobee missed his first extra point attempt, which came after the Steelers' third touchdown of the day.

Roethlisberger likes the advantage of taking a bigger-than-expected early lead, just as the Colts did in 1998 off an extra-point fake.

"If you're up 8-0 and they go score, they have a decision to make," said Roethlisberger of opponents. "We feel like we're a team that's going to do it enough that it's going to be hard to get a beat on us."

Each week, Roethlisberger and quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner select their seven favorite plays at the goal line, then rank them. They can use the plays in that week's game or carry them over to the next.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who's long been involved in NFL competition matters, said the league wanted teams to face difficult choices with the conversion, but he figured the philosophical shift among coaches would happen later in the year.

"Obviously they've got 2-point plays that are working," Fisher, whose team hosts the Steelers in Week 3, said. "Obviously we are going to have to spend a lot of time on it. That's Mike [Tomlin's] choice. I think we are going to see more and more of it as the season goes on."

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