PITTSBURGH – Ben Rothlisberger is not on social media, but he knows what seems like conversations outside the Steelers organization right now.
Criticisms have been mounting since the third straight loss where Rothlisberger played one of the worst parts of his professional football career.
Noise, however, is warranted, the quarterback said on Wednesday.
“I don’t blame them,” he said. “When you play like poo, you should talk about it. I need to play better. If I’m not giving them a reason to talk well, I’m giving them a reason to talk. It’s all on me. I need to play better. “
Roethlisberger completed 7-of-16 attempts for 19 yards and an interception in the first half of an unfair loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night. He finished with 170 yards out of 20-of-38 attempts with touchdowns and interceptions, but it still wasn’t enough to dig out of a 17-point first-day deficit – one that largely resulted in Roethlisberger’s turnover. There was a product and mental flaws. The numbers are problematic, but for Rothlisberger, the biggest sign of poor play is his team not winning.
“Seriously, at the end of the day, it’s my deciding factor. If I play well or not, are we winning the football game?” he said. “It all matters to me. Am I not completing enough passes, am I getting us in the right play call? In my opinion there are a myriad of issues that are not helping us win the game and It may be different. All the time.
“I just didn’t play well enough to help us win a football game, because at the end of the day, it all really matters.”
Roethlisberger also said on Wednesday that he called only a players’ meeting for the offense, but that was not the case as the team suffered a three-match defeat.
Instead, he wanted to get his unit – one with many young players who have not played in the NFL postseason – ahead of the playoffs.
“People wanted people to understand and reiterate how important this time of the year is and no one is guaranteed a playoff,” he said. “It was not just a nervous meeting of players. Make sure people keep writing. It was a meeting that we felt was necessary to move on to the postseason.”
Although things are not heading in the right direction for the Steelers, the team received some good news on Wednesday as the veteran inside 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 understood. The depth of the position is slim since Devin Bush’s ACL injury earlier in the season. In Williams’ absence, the team switched to a combination of safety-turn-inside linebackers Marcus Allen, Avery Williamson and Ulcis Gilbert.
The return of Williams provides a much-needed boost in veteran leadership and experience against the ground attack that Colts rookie Richardson Taylor grows.