PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger is not on social media, but he knows how the chats outside the Steelers organization sound right now.
Criticism increases after a third straight loss in which Roethlisberger played one of the worst halves of his professional football career.
The noise, however, is justified, the quarterback said Wednesday.
“I do not blame them,” he said. “When you play as a poo, you have to be talked about like that. I have to play better. If I do not give them a reason to speak well, then I give them a reason to speak badly. “I have to play better.”
Roethlisberger completed 7-of-16 attempts on 19 yards and an interception in the first half of the unlikely loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night. He finished with 170 yards on 20-of-38 attempts with a touchdown and wicket, but it was still not good enough to dig out a 17-point deficit in the first half – one that was largely a product of Roethlisbergers turnover and mental loss. The numbers are problematic, but for Roethlisberger, the biggest indication of playing poorly is that his team is not winning.
“True, at the end of the day it’s my deciding factor if I play well or not, will we win the football match?” he said. “That’s all that matters to me. If I do not complete enough passes, do I get us in the right game call? There are a myriad of problems in my opinion that do not help us win the game, and it can be something. other all the time.
“I just haven’t played well enough to help us win a football game, because at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.”
Roethlisberger also said Wednesday that he convened a players’ meeting for the offense, but that was not because the team was on a losing streak of three games.
Instead, he wanted to get his unit – one with many young players who have not played in an NFL record season – focused ahead of the playoffs.
“Just wanted guys to understand and repeat how important this time of year is and the playoffs are not guaranteed for anyone,” he said. “It was not a panic meeting that was just a player. Make sure people keep writing it. This was a meeting that we felt was necessary to move forward in the post season.”
Although things have not been in the right direction for the Steelers, the team got some good news on Wednesday when veteran linebacker Vince Williams was activated from the reserve / COVID-19 list.
The importance of Williams’ return before Sunday’s matchup against the Indianapolis Colts cannot be underestimated. The depth of the position has been thin since Devin Bush’s ACL injury earlier in the season. In Williams’ absence, the team had turned to a combination of line-backs, Marcus Allen, Avery Williamson and Ulysees Gilbert.
Williams’ return gives the position a much-needed boost in veteran leadership and experience against a ground attack that includes a fierce Colts rookie Jonathan Taylor.