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Making the Grade: Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben continues to frustrate the Steeler faithful this year. Last night was a step in the right direction (at least at times), but Ben still did not look as confident making decisions as he has in the past. John Madden, who occasionally contributes a nugget of insight in between his nonsensical jibberish, suggested that Roethlisberger be a bit more 'crazy'. I'm not sure exactly what he's referring to, but I presume he means Ben should find ways to get outside of the pocket and make plays with his legs. The problem with this idea is that it exposes him to big hits by linebackers and defensive lineman. Maybe Ben is still worried about taking a huge hit and his decision making with the football is suffering as a consequence.

I am frustrated that Roeth didn't look for Heath Miller more. The two hooked up on a beautiful pass and catch in the first half, but I don't remember Miller doing much of anything from that point on. I'm not sure if it's the play-calling, or how Ben is moving through his progressions, but we're a decidedly better football team when he's making plays.

Ben made a pretty bad mistake on the flea flicker pass, throwing the ball into double coverage with the short Santonio Holmes unable to elevate to make a play on the ball. At that time, we were in desperate need of a stabilizing drive that resulted in points, and we took what I thought was an uncessary gamble on 3rd and 1. On Ben's second pick, he simply forced it trying to make a play. Ben threw off balance while getting hit and he offered up a lame duck pass that was intercepted. It was a bad decision, a bad throw, and a bad ending to a poor second half. Ben has now thrown 9 interceptions since his last TD toss.

Grade: B-