The Pittsburgh Steelers played in a dome at Ford Field in Week 8 when they beat the Detroit Lions, and they’ll be under a roof again in Week 10 when they travel to play the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
While some players don’t like the dome (see the link below), you can count Ben Roethlisberger as someone who loves them. He talks about how easy it is to throw the football and how jealous he is of players who get to call a dome their home for eight games each season.
Some fans think the game is meant to be played outdoors, but the Steelers’ quarterback likes it inside—and when you look up his stats in those indoor games, they are markedly better.
With that said, time to check on the news surrounding the Steelers outside the walls of BTSC:
Ben Roethlisberger might be one of the NFL's best quarterbacks in playing backyard football, as he often has described his style.
But Big Ben loves playing indoors, whether it's under a dome or stadium with a retractable roof.
“It's awesome,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “Those guys that have domes and get to play in them eight games out of the year, I'm a little jealous at times. It's definitely very easy to throw the ball around.”
So after beating the Detroit Lions, 20-15 indoors at Ford Field, Roethlisberger is stoked that the Steelers will play their second consecutive game in what he calls “perfect weather,” a 70-degree setting that's neither wet nor windy.
The Steelers (6-2) start the second half of their schedule indoors—the same way they ended their first half—when they face the Indianapolis Colts (3-6) on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
As much as he revels in playing under a roof, Roethlisberger has played only 16 of his 193 NFL regular-season games indoors. While he has a higher completion percentage (66.4) and a better touchdown-to-interception ratio (2.18) indoors than outdoors (63.6 and 1.82, respectively), the Steelers have a better winning percentage (.678) outdoors than indoors (.625).
“That doesn't matter. To a quarterback, it can,” Steelers receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said. “I've seen Ben throw the ball in snow and wind, and he throws it the same: great.”
“The quarterback is thinking about the weather: 70 degrees, no wind,” Heyward-Bey said. “Receivers think different: You've got lights. You've got places like Dallas and Indy, where the sun comes in through weird spots and creates shadows.
“I played there for a year, in Indy. I hated it. Indy is a big space. You can be looking up and, poof, a light comes through. It can happen. They have a window where light comes in, so if you're going one way the light can be in your eye; the other way, it might not be.”
Either way, noise could be a factor Roethlisberger counts among the cons of playing indoors. A raucous crowd — which certainly was the case in Detroit — will force the Steelers to use a silent count. But they typically do so on the road anyway, regardless of whether it's indoors or outdoors.
That's where Maurkice Pouncey makes a difference. The Steelers' Pro Bowl center indicates the snap count with a head bob, one that must be consistent for his line mates. That's why the Steelers piped-in crowd noise during practices leading up to the game at Detroit before the bye, and now for Indianapolis.
Only eight teams are averaging more pass breakups per game than the Steelers at the midway point of the season. Among teams in the top half of the league in that category, though, only one has fewer interceptions than the Steelers.
In other words, the Steelers have been making plays — just not the big plays.
“We break up a lot of passes, we knock a lot of balls down and we actually put our hands on a lot of balls,” linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “I probably have two or three breakups that could have been picks, but now this season I'm dropping them.
“We've got to do a better job of capitalizing on our opportunities.”
Shazier has two of the Steelers' seven interceptions while their defensive backs have combined for four. But Shazier had an opportunity for a third — and a 90-plus-yard return for a touchdown — late in the Steelers' most recent win at Detroit on October 29th.
“Guys are in good positions to make plays,” safety Mike Mitchell said. “We've just got to make them.”
Maurkice Pouncey was in Miami to see his brother, Mike, play for the Dolphins on Monday Night Football when he got an unexpected wake-up call on Sunday morning.
His baby was on its way.
His girlfriend, Razan Aziz, wasn't due until Nov. 14, but her water broke early Sunday.
She called Pouncey at 5 a.m., and he flew back to Pittsburgh in time for the 3:30 p.m. arrival of daughter Marley Layla, who weighed six pounds, 12 ounces. She's their second daughter, joining 6-year-old Jayda.
Pouncey is one of a handful of Steelers who’ve had babies this year, joining Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, David DeCastro and Cam Heyward.
The youngest addition to the Steelers' defense this season has come from their first-round draft pick and starting outside linebacker, T.J. Watt.
Watt has started the season with four sacks, four passes defensed and an interception to go along with his 28 tackles. While the Steelers' defense is in the midst of a youth movement, defensive coordinator Keith Butler has made it a point to use Watt in various ways to attack quarterbacks and complicate his defense's coverage schemes.