Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was nearly yawning when asked about what preseason games mean to him by Tribune-Review reporter Alan Robison.
"Nothing to me," Roethlisberger said.
After seeing his reaction - visible frustration, even anger - to a Steelers' illegal substitution penalty with under two minutes to go in the first half of Saturday's preseason game against Buffalo, it's obvious Roethlisberger was not being truthful. It may not matter in the grand scheme, but he's still giving effort where effort should be given.
Looking like he had enough of an offense that puttered around in the first half, punting on six straight possessions and gaining just 62 yards.
The penalty that came on the seventh drive set him off.
He angrily waved off the sideline, indicating he was going to take over playcalling on that drive.
Amazingly, pass protection shored up, and Roethlisberger had time to throw. And throw he did.
He hit RB Jonathan Dwyer on a wheel route down the left sideline, then a few to Emmanuel Sanders. He even hit Heath Miller for his first catch of the preseason (he finished with two on the game). After scrambling for five yards, he delivered a great throw to the barely-open Antonio Brown in the end zone for the score.
Preseason or otherwise, it showed where Roethlisberger's head is as far as the playbook goes. Running a hurry-up offense is as much an art as it is a science. While it's obviously an option with less than two minutes in a half or a game, it can be sprinkled in at different times based on match-ups.
For as sharp as the offense looked on that final drive, and how dull it looked in just about every other play in the first half, Roethlisberger's obvious physical reaction to what was going on offensively will bring up questions as to what exactly is going on in offensive meetings and practices.
The main difference between the start of the first half and the end?
I just started calling my own plays," Roethlisberger said. "We went no-huddle and up-tempo and we were throwing the ball."
The Steelers threw the ball 32 times to 32 runs, an even percentage they have not shown to this point in the preseason. It was skewed in favor of the pass in the first half, with much of it coming on that last drive.
Perhaps it's not a coincidence it was their best drive. By far.