(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
The Steelers suffered their second loss of the season on Sunday night, falling to the Buffalo Bills, 26-15. It's back-to-back losses for the Steelers after starting the season 11-0. The Steelers have faced adversity this year with changes to their schedule due to COVID-19 outbreaks with the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens and have not played their best at times in games, but they still escaped victorious. It's a different type of adversity when you lose two games in a row.
"We are facing some adversity," Ben Roethlisberger said after the game. We’re not hitting the panic button. Offensively, we are not very good. Right now, we are not playing good football, and that starts with me. We all need to look in the mirror, and like I said it starts with me, and understand that we all need to be better. I think that we will be. I think this is a team that has a lot of resilience and that is resilient and understands what it takes to win football games and understands what time of year it is and that the way we are playing right now is unacceptable."
Roethlisberger was asked by Brooke Pryor of ESPN if some of his off-target throws were due to miscommunication with his receivers or the play calls, or if there's something else going.
Roethlisberger was in no mood after the loss and sarcastically quipped, "I’m just not very good, Brooke."
The Steelers rushed for 47 yards on 17 attempts in the game, an average of 2.8 yards per carry. They have rushed for 48 yards or fewer in five of their last seven games.
"If I had that answer, we wouldn’t be tripped up, and we wouldn’t be playing so poorly on offense," Roethlisberger said when asked why the Steelers haven't been able to fix the run game. "Like I said, we need to look in the mirror, and it starts with me. I need to play better football because the ball is in my hands every single play. When it’s in my hands, I need to make the best decision. Right now, I’m not playing good enough football to win."
Roethlisberger was asked if he feels like the team can regain stellar play with three games left in the season.
"I hope so. If I don’t play good enough football, then I need to hang it up," Roethlisberger said. "I still feel like I can do enough things to help this team win football games. I’m going to do everything I can to get us back on track."
Roethlisberger was clearly frustrated after the game and made some passive-aggressive remarks which he's known to do from time to time. With how the game went, it's understandable. He had his worst game of the year and dropped passes continue to be an issue along with the running game. Roethlisberger finished the game 21 of 37 (56.8%) for 187 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 65.9. Both his completion percentage and quarterback rating were season lows.
On Roethlisberger's first interception, he got picked off by cornerback Taron Johnson and it was returned 51 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter to give the Bills a 9-7 lead. Johnson read Roethlisberger's eyes the whole time as he was staring down Smith-Schuster on the play.
In the fourth quarter with the Steelers trailing 26-15 and 7:17 remaining in the game, Roethlisberger threw a deep pass down the right sidelines intended for Washington and got picked off by cornerback Levi Wallace. Washington had Wallace beat on the play, but Roethlisberger underthrew the pass. Roethlisberger has struggled this season when throwing deep and they won't go very far in the playoffs if that's not corrected, along with a myriad of other things on offense.