Although the Steelers game against the Detroit Lions was just a preseason game, Ben Roethlisberger was all over the field like a man much younger than 39 years old. It wasn't just his arm talent either, but Roethlisberger was running around the pocket like he did in the prime of his career. This early snippet of play, no matter how short, proved to everyone watching that Ben can still hang in there with the best of them. But, the question now turns to how can Roethlisberger keep up this level of play? If he can turn back the clock for 17 weeks, plus another 4 in the playoffs, teams better watch out for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Roethlisberger’s most impressive play of the preseason was an incompletion, and it was only incomplete because Eric Ebron dropped the ball. Ben Roethlisberger holding onto the ball, running around the pocket and evading defenders was vintage Roethlisberger. And, in all honesty, we didn't see much of that version of Roethlisberger in the 2020 NFL season.
We can put a lot of the blame for Roethlisberger’s limitations on having to rehab his right elbow all offseason and not being 100% prepared to go for Week 1. In 2020, Roethlisberger’s main goal was to be healthy enough to play in Week 1, but here in 2021 Roethlisberger was able to prepare in a way where he isn't just healthy enough, but the best version of himself, and it showed.
It wasn't just that scramble drill incompletion where Roethlisberger looked like his usual self, however. The classic ‘Big Ben’ pump fake touchdown to Pat Freiermuth was straight out of the 2005 Roethlisberger playbook. Roethlisberger was accurate on every level, putting the ball in the right spot on every single throw, and he showed incredible arm strength that many of the doubters thought he didn't have any more. No matter what you think about the preseason, Ben showing off those abilities will directly translate to the regular season.
If Roethlisberger can repeat that performance for four straight quarters, every single week, Steelers fans will not have to worry about this team missing the playoffs. In all honesty, if that is the Ben Roethlisberger we get on a weekly basis the only concern the fan base should have is whether or not they can win the AFC’s bye week. Roethlisberger came into the 2021 offseason with something to prove, and a massive chip on his shoulder. If the game against Detroit proves anything, it is that Roethlisberger isn't ready to ride off into the sunset, and the rest of the NFL should be on notice.
Ben Roethlisberger fakes out the camera man on a touchdown pass. pic.twitter.com/TSNLQIbRpU— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) August 22, 2021
But what do you think? Are you excited for the 2021 version of Ben Roethlisberger? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.