Ben Roethlisberger’s résumé stands worthy of Hall of Fame consideration when he calls it quits. But the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, now 34 and playing in his 13th season, has not looked the part this season.
He returned only 20 days after surgery on his left knee to play against the Baltimore Ravens last week.
But Roethlisberger went only 8-for-18 passing for 54 yards and an interception in the first three quarters before throwing for 191 yards and a touchdown against a prevent defense in the fourth.
Four times in seven games Roethlisberger has had a passer rating of 78.5 or lower. For the season, he has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,949 yards with 17 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 93.9 passer rating.
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Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told Pittsburgh reporters Tuesday that Roethlisberger being rusty and not 100 percent “were factors in some form or fashion” Sunday.
Le’Veon Bell gained 263 yards on 38 carries, a 6.9 yards-per-carry average, in his first three games after returning from a suspension. He has only 113 yards on 35 carries, a 3.1 average, in the past two games.
Bell gained only 32 yards on 14 carries against the Ravens on Sunday. Only three times in his four-year career has he gained fewer yards in a game.
The Steelers, who build around their running game, rank only 25th in rushing. They average only 96 yards. Bell’s only 100-yard game came against Kansas City in his return from his suspension.
Antonio Brown and who?
Antonio Brown remains one of the best receivers in the NFL. He has 55 catches for 677 yards and six touchdowns. It would help him, though, if the Steelers could find a steady wideout opposite him.
Eli Rogers had six catches for 103 yards, all in the fourth quarter, Sunday. No other Steelers receiver caught a pass.
For the season, Sammie Coates ranks fourth on the team in catches, second among wideouts. The five wideouts other than Brown have combined for only 48 catches for 782 yards and six touchdowns.
“I think it’s important that we get consistent contributions from guys not named Antonio Brown,” Tomlin said.
“And I think that if you look at it, that may be one of the reasons why we didn’t perform as well as we’d like looking back at last Sunday. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates and Cobi Hamilton collectively had zero catches. You have to balance it out. You can’t allow people to do some of the things that they’ve been able to do against Antonio without repercussions.”
The Steelers’ special teams killed them against the Ravens. They had a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, had a roughing-the-punter penalty, and were offside on a punt and offside on a kickoff. Oh, and kicker Chris Boswell, a Keller Fossil Ridge grad, made it onto an NFL blooper reel with a gaffe of an onside kick in the final minute.