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Steelers still can win with Ben Roethlisberger at QB, but no longer because of him



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The conclusion arrived not on the horrid interception that even the beneficiary couldn’t comprehend, nor on the laughable choice to throw a flare move to a working again on fourth-and-10 from the opponent’s 11-yard-line. These had been calamitous, definitely, and never what anybody would count on from a quarterback who ranks among the many recreation’s greats in so some ways. Even one of the best make errors, typically ridiculous within the excessive.

The finest additionally make performs, although, when they’re accessible to be made and important to their workforce’s success. This is the place Ben Roethlisberger has come to be most poor. Those moments too not often occur now, nearly by no means, and this was painfully evident with the Steelers trailing by 17 factors within the third quarter towards the Bengals but still plentiful time to paper over that deficit.

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On third down from the Bengals’ 24, after two incomplete passes, the Steelers had second-year wideout Chase Claypool on the left aspect, the place he sprinted arduous till he met defensive resistance that left him no selection but to show right into a submit route. There was no defensive assist accessible between Claypool and the top zone at that second. Claypool was as alone as Tom Hanks in “Cast Away.”

No, wait, Claypool was extra alone — because at least Hanks had a ball.

As Claypool sliced towards the goalpost, Roethlisberger lobbed a move towards the top zone nook, the place no one stood. The ball landed and bounced alongside the Heinz Field grass. A miscommunication, is what the TV analysts name it. There have been a number of of these for the Steelers in 2021, and most frequently the idea is one of the younger receivers botched it. This one, although, appeared fully by design — the Bengals’ design. Claypool was turned inside because the Bengals knew Roethlisberger wouldn’t throw there. He not often does, anymore.

And that’s the second when the reality grew to become inescapable: He no longer can win a recreation for the Steelers.

If the protection is wholesome and dominant (who is aware of when that returns?) and if the offensive line is obstructing moderately properly (not going anytime quickly), the Steelers can win with him. They no longer win because of him. And it’s sometimes doable that his title shall be written throughout a disappointing defeat.

“Ben Roethlisberger cannot be the catalyst of the Steelers taking over a game,” analyst Chris Carter of DKPittsburghSports.com advised Sporting News. “He can be part of it. People who are saying his arm’s gone — I think that’s bull. He definitely has the physical ability to play quarterback. I think the problem is, he’s 39 years old and he’s not making NFL veteran reads and decisions on the field.”

Roethlisberger was poor sufficient in Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Bengals that coach Mike Tomlin was requested in a information convention Tuesday whether or not any consideration was given to benching his quarterback throughout that recreation.

“No, it was not,” Tomlin mentioned.

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There are warmth charts that can present you ways ice-cold the intermediate and deep center are for the Steelers’ passing recreation. Tomlin wasn’t requested as particularly about that challenge as he might need been, but did say, “It might not have anything to do with what’s going on downfield, it might have to do with the game circumstances or what’s going on up front. Nothing happens in a vacuum on a football field.”

Carter advised SN that there have been open receivers within the center of the sector at numerous factors within the Steelers’ first three video games, and that passes to that space in these circumstances would assist relieve congestion close to the road of scrimmage that has made it so tough for the workforce’s assault to be useful.

“He’s not hitting any of them,” Carter mentioned. “Everyone’s picking on the offensive line because they are bad. But we knew they were going to be bad going into the season. … I’ve said a million times: Expect this offensive line to see progress by Week 8. But I’ve also said there are plenty of guys out there, like Aaron Rodgers, who have had bad offensive lines and they mitigate it. Why? Because they know where everyone’s going to be, they coordinate and they make things happen. Ben isn’t doing that right now. To me, that’s the biggest problem here.”

This shouldn’t be what anybody had hoped could be doable when Roethlisberger took a big paycut to return for his 18th season. This could also be a end result of an excessive amount of hope infecting the Steelers’ offensive plans.

They hoped offensive sort out Zach Banner would get better quickly from the ACL he tore final yr, that proper sort out Chuks Okorafor might transfer comfortably to the left aspect, that rookie Kendrick Green could be a adequate alternative at middle, that veteran Pro Bowler David DeCastro would get better from an injury-plagued 2020 season, that assistant offensive line coach Adrian Klemm could be an enchancment on his boss if promoted to run the O-line and that quarterbacks coach Matt Canada would invigorate the unimaginative offense of his predecessor as soon as put in as offensive coordinator. They have been 0-for-6 on want success.

There are others who want the Steelers had not adopted this course. ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, a Super Bowl champion with the workforce in 2008, harangued the workforce for failing to concoct an satisfactory succession plan for the quarterback place. “The best teams are able to move right into the next quarterback,” Clark mentioned.

Such as? Green Bay spent a 2020 first-round choose on Jordan Love and has gotten seven NFL passes out of him in 2.2 seasons. The reality is, it’s the worst groups which might be in a position to transfer proper into the subsequent quarterback because they lose sufficient to select excessive within the draft. The Steelers drafted within the prime 10 as soon as prior to now 20 years, once they moved as much as choose linebacker Devin Bush at No. 10 general. The subsequent quarterback taken after Bush got here 4 picks later, when Washington selected Dwayne Haskins at No. 14. He’s at present the Steelers’ third-string QB.

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All of this isn’t on Roethlisberger. He too not often has adequate time to throw. The schemes during which the Steelers are aligned are extra complicated to their very own gamers than the protection, resulting in a number of false-start and formation penalties. There have been far too many dropped passes — 10 towards the Bengals — though these numbers had been inflated by a late avalanche of bungling after the sport had been determined.

Roethlisberger threw two interceptions that had been was short-field scores by the Bengals. The first adopted a choose by Steelers security Terrell Edmunds, which arrange the workforce simply six yards quick of midfield. They went backward from there because of a false-start penalty, after which Roethlisberger’s dreadful throw towards Claypool gave the ball proper again.

That was was Cincinnati’s first landing. Their third got here early within the second half, after Roethlisberger, on third-and-4 from his 31, threw on the run towards a receiver coated by three Bengals at as soon as, who wound up laughing with one another about which was entitled to that interception.

“I don’t know about that one,” linebacker Logan Wilson mentioned with amusing. “He was scrambling, so I was going to go track him down and tackle him. He ended up just throwing it.”

Roethlisberger on the transfer shouldn’t be the drive he as soon as was, which is like saying there now are higher methods to take heed to rock music than an AM radio. But he still is detest to surrender on a play and throw the ball away, resulting in pointless punishment and yardage misplaced.

He still is making an attempt to play the identical previous hits, but the band is simply too younger to comply with his lead as intently. And too usually Roethlisberger is forgetting the lyrics to his favourite songs.



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