I know I'm one of many that you, reading this now, would consider prematurely hitting the 'Panic Fandom' button when it comes to Ben Roethlisberger play so far in this 2021 season but here me out...
First off, I'll be more than willing to issue a huge 'My Bad' if in a 2 to 4 week span, from the time I post this, Ben turns his season around and is playing at a above average level. I truly hope I am in position to have to do that but my gut instincts tell me something that I believe a lot of Steeler Nation knows but can't quite utter these words: HE'S DONE
Secondly, I'm going to avoid going down the critical 'blame-game' road that involves the Offensive Line, Run Game, Play-Calling, etc. and just stick to what my untrained eyes see when Ben drops back in the pocket
I see a quarterback whose now pushing the ball instead of throwing the ball when attempting mid-to-deep passes. Passes that are pushed tend to stay up in the air much longer and float instead of moving through the air with purpose. To come to this conclusion I re-watched this season's 3rd preseason (the only preseason game he played) and the first regular season game against the Buffalo Bills. These were games that he was presumably healthy before suffering what we now know to date as pectoral and hip injuries. I even went back to the 2020 season and skimmed through the early games the Steelers started losing after starting out 11-0. And when you put that progressive timeline together one can watch the gradual faltering of Ben's throwing arm (if you look real close you can even see the receivers growing more and more impatient with his errant throws). Bottom-line most, if not all, of his passes look to be where Ben is aiming his throws instead of having that confidence of Load-Lock-Release
*Ben has been doing a lot of double pumping and holding the ball longer in the pocket and at first I thought it was receivers not getting open-and it might be a lil bit of that-but it really appears to be the low level of confidence he has in making certain throws on certain routes; fitting the ball in tight windows is a thing of the past*
Now one would expect a 18 year veteran to have a weakened arm but it really seems as if Ben has fallen hard off a cliff overnight. But to be fair, maybe this is what should have been expected from a Quarterback-Warrior like Roethlisberger who has endured a lot, physically, throughout his career. Regardless, Coach Tomlin and the Front office could very likely be dealing with 'what to do with Ben' during their Week 7 Bye. Moving to Mason Rudolph to salvage the season, doesn't have a nice catchphrase ring to it but it could be a hard reality facing the team if Ben continues to show deteoriation in these next 2 games before the bye
With all that being said, it's been a van-glorious career, lets all Thank BIG BEN for his 18-year participation in the NFL. Next stop Canton, Ohio