Wednesday, September 18, 2013
QB Watch: Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger
By Scott Brown
A weekly analysis of the Steelers' quarterback play:
Rewind: Ben Roethlisberger completed 20 of 37 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown and an interception in a 20-10 loss at Cincinnati. Roethlisberger looked really sharp at times, particularly when he ran the no-huddle offense at the end of the first half and needed just five plays to get the Steelers into the end zone. But he also struggled with his accuracy, and his fourth-quarter interception snuffed out any chances of a comeback.
Fast-forward: Like coach Mike Tomlin, Roethlisberger finds himself on unfamiliar ground. The quarterback who had often been labeled the consummate winner is 0-2 at the start of the season for the first time in his 10-year career. Roethlisberger has put much of the blame for the offense’s struggles on his broad shoulders, and the key is for him to not try to do too much with the Steelers desperately in need of a win. If Roethlisberger forces things against the Bears’ opportunistic defense Sunday, the Steelers could be in for a long night at Heinz Field.
A little help, please: Roethlisberger’s quarterback rating after two games (74.8) is almost 20 points lower than his career rating (92.7). So much for the notion that Roethlisberger could carry the offense until tight end Heath Miller and running back Le’Veon Bell return from injuries. Roethlisberger has to be better, as he has pointed out. But he also needs more from his supposed supporting cast, and that includes the Steelers’ coaches. It is time to give Roethlisberger a little more speed at wide receiver and play rookie Markus Wheaton more extensively (he was on the field for just five snaps at Cincinnati).
Prediction: Things very well could get worse before they get better for Roethlisberger. The Bears are still a formidable defense despite the retirement of middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. And Miller may be scheduled to fully practice this week, but he is probably still a long shot to play Sunday. Again, fantasy owners, keep Roethlisberger on your bench this week.