If there has been one constant in the Ben Roethlisberger era, it's that he really knows how to lay an egg. When he decides to suck, he puts everything he has into it and really, really sucks. And so it was last night, where he played on one leg and managed to render meaningless his 330 yards passing because of 4 turnovers and horrifically inept clock management at the end of the first half. But in spite of this being perhaps the most unwatchable game of Ben's career -- and there have been several -- we're not overly concerned. Well, maybe just a little. Let us explain.
We explain, after the jump...
Perhaps the best thing about Roethlisberger is that he doesn't care what he looks like on the field, so long as he is limping. He plays the ugliest game of any star quarterback, but it works for him. The downside is that when he isn't 100% healthy, and he was far from that last night, he has the capacity within himself to be awful. The plus side of his determination to do it his way no matter what, is that when he sucks for a quarter, or a half, or a week, it has absolutely no bearing on whether he is going to suck the next quarter, week, or half. He plays one way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Because again, he doesn't care what he looks like.
|Seriously, he doesn't care what he looks like.|
With that positive spin out of the way, there are three major concerns from this game:
1) Ben's ankle. No one plays up an injury like he does, but he appears to actually be hurt.
2) Ben's attempt at spontaneous humor on a live microphone. During the second power outage, Ben yelled to no one in particular, "Where's James Harrison when you need him!!" Ben then gave enough of a smirk to communicate to the confused national audience that his exclamation was intended to be a joke, but not enough of a laugh that we would think he was laughing at his own joke.
3) The defense's determination to give up a long scoring drive to start every game.
Those three things can be fixed with proper medical care, better judgment, and a turnover every once in a while, respectively.
So while last night was brutal, you'll notice that by Friday of this week, no one will be calling for coaches to be fired, no one will be calling for the backup QB (unless it's injury-related), and no one will be calling for any dramatic changes. Instead, when the dust settles and when everyone calms down, nothing will have changed all that much from before the San Francisco game. The Steelers are as likely as anyone else to come out of the AFC.*
*Depending on which Ben shows up.