Las Vegas Review-Journal
Roethlisberger shoulders blame for Steelers’ woes
There was plenty of blame to go around for the Steelers’ ugly effort in losing their home opener to the Raiders on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger decided to point the finger squarely at himself.
“I just need to be better,” the 39-year-old said. “Right now my play is just not good enough. If I played better, we would have had a chance to win the football game.”
Roethlisberger wasn’t alone in struggling during Sunday’s 26-17 loss to the Raiders.
The Steelers managed 39 yards on 14 carries as their run game was shut down. Their vaunted defense gave up a few too many big plays that kept drives alive and extended the Raiders’ lead as Pittsburgh tried to mount a comeback.
Coach Mike Tomlin opted to punt the ball away on a fourth-and-1 when the Steelers were down nine points in the fourth quarter.
Still, Roethlisberger wasn’t about to pin the loss on any of those things.
“It’s frustrating because I put a lot of time in, more than I probably ever have,” he said. “I have to get it figured out though, because I am frustrated that I’m not playing well enough. The good news is it’s still early. We have a long road ahead of us and a lot of time to try to get it fixed.”
Rookie running back Najee Harris, who had several highlight-reel plays and totaled 81 yards and a touchdown, said the blame extends far beyond Roethlisberger. “We all have to play better,” he said.
Roethlisberger took a pay cut to remain with the Steelers this season and has started the year with two mediocre efforts.
He went 18-for-32 for 188 yards in a win over Buffalo in the opener. While he threw for 295 yards in Sunday’s loss and completed 27 of 40 passes, he threw a costly interception that led to the Raiders’ first three points. He also was sacked twice.
The numbers weren’t awful, but the veteran quarterback knows he left several plays out on the field.
“They’re a good defense. They got after us like we anticipated,” he said. “We tried to take advantage of some single-coverage on the outside, and we were just a little bit off. So that’s what’s frustrating.”
Roethlisberger is 2-6 against the Raiders but won’t see them again this season unless it’s in the playoffs.
His concern is getting the kinks ironed out in his team.
“I think we’re working through it,” he said. “I think that’s the good news, if you will. It’s still early. We have time to figure it out. … It’s frustrating. The best way to figure out an identity is for the quarterback to play better. So, I’m going to work on myself and get ready to go. I need to work on making better reads, better throws, and try to put us in a situation to win a football game.”