Ben Roethlisberger: 'I think the offense is as good as it's been in a long time'

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Fiesty Ben stood in support of his offensive coordinator as his team as he prepares to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15.

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger was still in a mood when he addressed the media Wednesday afternoon, as one-word answers and one admonishment dominated the 4 1/2-minute session before practice.

Roethlisberger apparently was still hacked off about his post-game comments "being taken out of context,'' when was asked about the offensive game plan as far as running the ball was concerned in the second half Sunday against Miami.

Roethlisberger said: "Coach Haley is over there. You could probably ask him. Their scheme, I don't know, there was no particular reason. We just tried to move the ball. I thought we did a good job passing it there, too.''

Roethlisberger addressed Tuesday during his weekly radio show continual speculation that he and Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley are at odds based on that statement. Roethlisberger noted Tuesday that what he said, basically wasn't what he meant.

"They take one little blurb of a whole sentence (that) was not directed at Coach Haley,'' Roethlisberger said. (But) in no way shape or form was it directed negatively at him. I think the offense is as good as it's been in a long time.

"We've got guys doing some great things. I genuinely am enjoying this offense and what Coach Haley is doing and where we're going. We're getting (better) every week, and I think we can keep getting better.''

Wednesday, Roethlisberger was asked what the team's remaining goals are, since making the playoffs likely are out of the question.

"To play hard and win football games,'' Roethlisberger said.

But is it easy to keep the guys motivated?

"Yeah, I'm motivated to win,'' Roethlisberger said. "I'd assume that you'd have to ask all the other guys in here what their motivation is, but I'm sure that'll be taken out of context, too. (But) I'm motivated to play as hard as I can, and I'm sure everybody else is.''

Ben, are you pissed off at the media?

"Not at all,'' Roethlisberger said.

Roethlisberger's attitude improved later in the media session, especially when discussing the merits of the offense when compared to earlier this season.

"I think the numbers speak for themselves,'' Roethlisberger said. "I think we're getting better every week. The ultimate goal is to win the game, but obviously our goal is to get better, and we've done that (because) sacks have gone down. Turnovers have gone down, and the points have gone up.''

Roethlisberger is on a record-setting pace this season. With three games remaining, Roethlisberger needs 276 yards to reach the 4,000-yard plateau for the third time in his career, and with 605 yards in the final three he will set the single-season yardage mark. He has thrown 24 touchdown passes with 10 interceptions and 39 sacks.

The running game, for the most part, has sputtered. However, the Steelers have utilized a short passing game to take the place of runs.

"Yeah, a lot of screens, quick throws, what we call run-game alternatives,'' Roethlisberger said. "So, yeah, we're still kind of doing those things even though the rush numbers aren't there. (And) a lot of our run plays have quick passes off of it. So, if the run doesn't look good, we can raise up and throw the ball quickly. So, there are a lot of different ways to run the ball, if you will.

"A lot of teams are going to stack the box to stop the run, so if you can get the ball into the hands of a receiver or tight end quickly and they can get 4-5 yards, then you can count that as a good run play. (But) I don't think this is a West Coast offense. I've never been in a West Coast system, but I don't think this is a West Coast offense.''

Fortunately for the media, no one asked if it could be termed "dink-and-dunk.''

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