PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger is not on social media, but he knows what the discussion outside the Steelers now sounds like.
Criticism intensifies after a third consecutive loss, where Roethlisberger played one of the worst halves of his professional football career.
The noise is still justified, the quarterback said on Wednesday.
“I don’t blame them,” he said. “When you play like a poo, they should talk to you about it. I have to play better. If I don’t give them a reason to speak well, then I give them a reason to speak badly. That’s all for me. I have to play better. “
Roethlisberger completed 7 of 16 attempts for 19 yards and an interception in the first half of the unlikely loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night. He finished with 170 yards on 20-of-38 attempts with a touchdown and interception, but was still not good enough to escape a 17-point deficit in the first half – one that was largely a product of Roethlisberger’s turnover and mental decay. The numbers are problematic, but for Roethlisberger, the biggest clue to playing poorly is that his team does not win.
“True, at the end of the day, this is my determining factor whether I play well or not, do we win the football match?” he said. “That’s all that matters to me. I don’t complete enough passes, they make us get a fair game? There are a lot of problems, in my opinion, that don’t help us win the game and it can be something different all the time.
“We just didn’t play well enough to help us win a football game, because at the end of the day, that really matters.”
Roethlisberger also said on Wednesday that he had called a meeting only for players for the crime, but not because the team had a series of losses of three games.
Instead, he wanted to focus his unit – one with many young players who didn’t play in an NFL postseason – focused before the playoffs.
“I just wanted the boys to understand and reiterate how important this time of year is, and the playoffs are not guaranteed for anyone,” he said. “It wasn’t a panic meeting just for the players. Make sure people keep writing this. It was a meeting that I felt was necessary to move forward in the postseason.”
Although things did not go in the right direction for the Steelers, the team received good news on Wednesday, while veteran defender Vince Williams was activated from the reserve list / COVID-19.
The importance of Williams’ return before Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts cannot be underestimated. The depth of the position has been thin since Devin Bush’s ACL injury earlier this season. In Williams’ absence, the team turned to a combination of safe linebackers 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, which features rookie corner Jonathan Taylor.