The Pittsburgh Steelers’ late season failures have been well documented. Whether you are talking about their recent records in the month of December, their playoff record or the sheer fact they haven’t won a playoff game since 2016, there are fans who want answers.
Who is to blame?
Who is the one who should shoulder the blame for the team’s AFC Wild Card loss to the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field in 2020?
Some want to blame Mike Tomlin. Some will blame Maurkice Pouncey for a poor snap. Others will point the finger at Ben Roethlisberger and his horrible turnovers.
Well, in 2021, Ben Roethlisberger is taking all the blame for the team’s struggles down the stretch in recent years. The Super Bowl winning quarterback spoke with the media for the first time Tuesday after a practice during the Phase III of the Steelers’ Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
“I didn’t play well enough at the end of the season, it’s no secret, and I’ll be the first to point the thumb at myself. When the ball is in your hand every play, you have to make plays and you have to play better football. If the quarterback is not playing good football, especially late in the season, it’s directly related to winning and losing. I will take that on me feeling worn down and not playing good enough football at the end of the season.”
Wait a second. Worn down? Was Roethlisberger indeed hitting a wall, and his arm not prepared for the stretch run?
“I felt relatively healthy, all things considered at the end of the season. I just felt like I had more in the tank, and I felt disappointed about the way the season ended and hate to go out that way. I wanted to let them know if they wanted me back, I would give them everything I’ve got.”
Roethlisberger clearly feels as if he has more to prove, and that means winning a Super Bowl. Doing so will be different in 2021, considering he will be learning an entirely new offense under Matt Canada. Here were Roethlisberger’s early thoughts of Canada’s offense.
“It’s new. There is a lot of new,” said Roethlisberger. “It’s taking some extra studying, but it’s a fun new challenge. Guys are getting it and hopefully it translates into winning football.
“When you have had the same offense, or a similar offense for 17 years and all of a sudden something looks the same, but it’s called something different, it’s very different and a big challenge. That is the game of football, learning new things, new challenges. Coach Canada’s offense is one that hopefully will be a good one. We need to execute the plays that he calls. Hopefully we will be better on offense than last year.
“We’ll throw a lot of different looks and schemes at people and see what works.”
The Steelers will need Roethlisberger at the top of his game, and they hope the Pro Bowl quarterback can prove old dogs can learn new tricks. If Roethlisberger can adapt his game to Canada’s offense, it could be unique enough to give the Steelers an edge. Not only with Roethlisberger at quarterback, but with Najee Harris carrying the football and a stellar wide receiving corps.
Only time will tell if Roethlisberger and Canada can mesh.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.