Steelers red zone woes aren't discouraging Ben Roethlisberger from wanting to be aggressive

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Frustrated Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger admits he's "disappointed" in Pittsburgh's 2-for-5 performance in the red zone in a win over Buffalo. The Steelers are 13-for-29 in the red zone this season, the fourth-worst percentage in the league.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers scored two touchdowns in five red-zone opportunities against the Buffalo Bills Sunday with a four-yard run by Le'Veon Bell and five-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Jerricho Cotchery.

That makes 13 touchdowns for the Steelers in 29 trips inside the 20-yard line, an efficiency rating at 44.8 percent. The Steelers rank 28th in the NFL, while Denver leads at an amazing 79.5 percent. The only teams worse than the Steelers are Buffalo, Green Bay, Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

"We had a couple," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "Obviously, we scored twice down there, and we kicked field goals. That's why I was so disappointed after the game. We should have done better."

The Steelers reached the 18-yard line during their fourth possession, following an interception by Ryan Clark, but had to settle for a 36-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham. The Steelers tried to ram the ball down the field and did pretty well, but Roethlisberger took an 11-yard sack to kill the drive.

"We brought Mike Adams in to run the ball, and because it worked the last time down there," Roethlisberger said. "We grinded it and picked up the yardage, (but) that time, it didn't work. Their defense stopped us.

"So, when we get down there, I want to keep being aggressive. ... I don't want to play conservative. We can still spread them out and run the ball. So, we'll take a look at what we need to do to get better down there."

One thing the Steelers can do is expand their scoring options. Cotchery's touchdown was his sixth this season, which is a team high, two more than rookie running back Bell.

"Ben's a guy who creates opportunities for his guys," Cotchery said. "It's a lot of fun playing with him, and I'm cherishing every moment of it. ... I feel like we're growing as an offense, and the guys are anxious to keep that moving in the right direction."

One option that hasn't been there as often is tight end Heath Miller. Last year's leading receiver, Miller has 25 catches for 274 yards and one touchdown. Since coming back from knee surgery nearly 13 months ago, Miller's practice time has been limited during the week, and his production has been down. There's a reason for that, Roethlisberger noted.

"Teams are really doing a good job of trying to look him up and sending two guys on him, holding him and doing everything they can to slow him down,'' Roethlisberger said.

So, instead of running the ball more often, does that mean Roethlisberger and the Steelers are going to take more shots into the end zone?

"We just want to have the right personnel group, at times, the right people on the field,'' Roethlisberger said. "The first time we got down there after Ryan's interception, it worked. We got all the big guys in there and used it.

"And they stopped us. So, we just have to make sure that we go in there with the right mentality every time. And, just because it worked this time it doesn't mean that it's going to work the next time."

To improve their scoring output, the Steelers clearly have to make it work better than it has been working in the red zone.

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