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Thread: Ben takes blame for collapse

  1. #1
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    Ben takes blame for collapse

    Roethlisberger: blame me for collapse
    Big Ben and the Steelers won't reach the playoffs for only the fourth time since 2001.


    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/p...ollapse-122612


    UPDATED DEC 26, 2012 7:12 PM ET

    PITTSBURGH (AP)
    Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks at his passing statistics, and they're not all that bad.


    The completion rate is where it has been over the course of an eight-year career.


    Only once before has Roethlisberger thrown more touchdown passes per game or fewer interceptions per game.


    But it's been Roethlisberger's play, by his own admission, that's a key factor in Pittsburgh (7- failing to make the playoffs for only the fourth time since 2001.


    ''A lot of it just has to do with me not playing well enough down the stretch,'' Roethlisberger said. ''Fourth-quarter drives or last-minute throws, I'm just not making it happen, so my best answer would be that I just didn't play well enough.''


    The Steelers controlled their playoff fate until their 13-10 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday eliminated them from the postseason.


    Just as had happened one week earlier against Dallas, Roethlisberger threw an interception during a tie game that led to the opponent kicking a winning field goal.


    Those losses joined others earlier this season against Denver, Oakland and Tennessee in which Pittsburgh not only blew fourth-quarter leads, but had the ball in the final minutes with a chance to drive for a potential winning score.


    The Roethlisberger-led offense failed each time. In the season opener at Denver, he threw an interception to Tracy Porter that was returned 43 yards for the clinching touchdown.


    ''In the past, I prided myself and us in fourth-quarter comebacks,'' Roethlisberger said. ''I've always said that you don't want to have them, because that means you haven't done well early in the game, but we've always been good at it. And this year, we just weren't. I don't think there's any rhyme or reason why, (but) it was just a year when I wasn't.''


    Roethlisberger has thrown only eight interceptions this season, but many came at crucial times. Six came in defeats, four in the fourth quarter or overtime. His first interception in the must-win game against the Bengals on Sunday was returned for Cincinnati's only touchdown.


    This season, Roethlisberger's 84.4 passer rating in the fourth quarter and overtime is by far lower than during any of the other three quarters.




    That would seem to be in contrast to the clutch reputation Roethlisberger has earned over the course of a career in which he has led 22 fourth-quarter comebacks and 29 game-winning drives during the regular season and also led a memorable comeback in the final minutes of the 2009 Super Bowl.


    ''I don't think there's any reason to go panic about it, because I've been pretty good for eight years doing it and had one not-so-good year on it,'' Roethlisberger said. ''I think I played pretty good football, though, other than those situations.''


    To be fair, Roethlisberger was under center for three fourth-quarter comebacks this season. But even coach Mike Tomlin acknowledges his two-time Pro Bowler just wasn't the same in such situations this season.


    ''Just not making the critical plays,'' Tomlin said. ''Not a lot has changed in terms of structurally for how we prepare for those moments and how we deal with those moments. They're not coming together for us, and I'm not going to try to make excuses in that regard.''


    Roethlisberger and Tomlin both downplayed the notion that the quarterback's right shoulder and rib injuries sustained in November are affecting his play.


    Roethlisberger missed three games, and since he's come back, he's thrown six interceptions and four touchdown passes in three games - all losses.


    ''We can talk about that in the offseason, maybe, but I feel good enough to play,'' Roethlisberger said.


    There have been times over the past three games that Roethlisberger's arm didn't appear as strong as usual and he was badly off on throws he typically makes. But there also are examples he was the same old Big Ben.



    Against Dallas, for example, he lofted a ball more than 50 yards in the air to Mike Wallace to set up a tying second-half touchdown. Earlier in that game, he scrambled and avoided multiple sack attempts to find an open Heath Miller for a score just before halftime.


    ''The only reason we're in that game is because of his play,'' safety Ryan Clark said. ''The only reason he had an opportunity to throw an interception at the critical moment is because he played so well to keep us close.''


    Still, Roethlisberger has largely built his career not on eye-popping numbers but on clutch play.


    When asked about why this season has been so much different, Wallace shrugs and maintains that Roethlisberger is the same at practice and in the huddle.


    ''You can't be perfect every time,'' Roethlisberger said. ''You can't be a superhero every time.''


    Maybe, but Roethlisberger was far from it late in this season - and as a result, the Steelers will spend January at home.


    ''I not worried about Ben,'' Miller said. ''He's one of the best quarterbacks in the league - in my mind, he's still there. And I wouldn't want anybody else to be leading this team.''


    Notes: The Steelers placed Miller, CB Ike Taylor and RB Baron Batch on injured reserve Wednesday and signed TE Jamie McCoy, S Damon Cromartie-Smith and LB Marshall McFadden to the active roster. Miller, who tore knee ligaments Sunday, will have surgery Wednesday.

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  2. #2
    Hall of Famer Mister Pittsburgh's Avatar
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    Maybe having a pregnant wife, then a baby, mixed with an injury played a part in his lackluster play after the injury.

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    Roethlisberger can't explain dropoff in late ralliesDecember 27, 2012 12:12 am
    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...allies-667958/






    By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Those John Elway-like winning drives in the fourth quarter that became so typical of another No. 7 have not vanished this season.


    They have dwindled, and, in a season where eight Steelers games were decided by three points, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's batting average of 2 for 7 in the fourth quarter just wasn't good enough.


    "In the past, I've prided myself and our team in the fourth-quarter comebacks," Roethlisberger said Wednesday. "We've always said you don't want to have them because then you're usually not doing so well early on in the games. But we've always been good at it. This year just wasn't. I don't think there's a rhyme or reason why."


    It began in the opener in Denver when, trailing by six points and the ball in his hands, Roethlisberger threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown with two minutes left to give the Broncos a 31-19 victory. It ended with two late interceptions that set up victories by Dallas in overtime and Cincinnati with 14 seconds left.


    In between, there were winning fourth-quarter drives by Roethlisberger in a 16-14 victory against Philadelphia and a 24-20 victory against the New York Giants. There also were games in which he could not come through with a score: A 34-31 loss at Oakland, and a 26-23 loss at Tennessee.


    His two fourth-quarter drives to victories gives him 29 for his career (including overtime), 26 in the regular season and three in the postseason. He explained it that it was just a year in which he did not do it.


    "I don't think there's any reason to go panic. I've been pretty good for eight years doing it. I had one not-so-good year at it. I felt like I played pretty good football, though, other than those situations."


    Roethlisberger was having an MVP-like season before injuries to his ribs and right shoulder knocked him out for three games. His passer rating of 95.5 still ranks third in the AFC behind Denver's Peyton Manning (103.7) and New England's Tom Brady (98.3). Roethlisberger limped around the locker room Wednesday on slight but double knee injuries from the game Sunday but did not mention them.


    "Obviously, as you progress throughout a season, everyone is a little injured and everyone is a little banged up. Every week, you get a little more banged up. But no excuses from me."


    Hampton looks to future


    As for other kinds of comebacks, Casey Hampton believes Dick LeBeau will return as defensive coordinator and that he would like to return as his nose tackle for a 13th season.


    "I can't see why he would leave," Hampton said of LeBeau, 75. "He said he'd tell us if he was and he hasn't said anything about it so I can't see him leaving."


    As for his own return, he said "we'll see."


    "I definitely want to continue to play. If it's here, whatever. I definitely want to be here, but it's a business, and I understand that. Whatever happens is going to happen, I don't have any control over that."


    Hampton started all 15 games after coming back from his third ACL surgery. His knee was injured in the first quarter of a Jan. 8 playoff game at Denver. He said he started playing better when he felt his knee was fully healed around midseason.


    "It took me a little while, no question about it, before I felt really comfortable, but, once I did, I played a lot better."


    Miller surgery today


    Tight end Heath Miller will have surgery on his right knee today to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. His posterior cruciate ligament also was injured but will heal on its own.


    "These types of things happen," said Miller, who appeared in the locker room Wednesday after practice. "It's the nature of the game. It's obviously disappointing to see anyone get hurt."


    Miller left the game after blocking on a running play before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. There's some speculation, however, that some of the damage was done on the final play of the first quarter by Cincinnati safety Reggie Nelson after Miller caught a 16-yard pass over the middle.


    "I'm not sure, it's hard to say," said Miller, who seemed to be agitated after that tackle and explained why. "It's never a comfortable position to be in. It's part of today's game based on the rules, I guess."


    Miller could become the first tight end to lead the Steelers in receptions since Eric Green caught 63 in 1993. Miller has 71. He is unsure how long it will take before he can resume playing. Rashard Mendenhall had his ACL torn Jan. 1 and missed the first three games of 2012. Hampton and offensive tackle Max Starks left the playoff game in January at Denver with torn ACLs and started in the 2012 opener.


    Steelers sign three


    The Steelers placed Miller, Ike Taylor and Baron Batch on injured reserve, ending their seasons with only the game Sunday against Cleveland at Heinz Field left. Like Miller, Batch was injured Sunday and had surgery to repair a broken arm Monday. Taylor missed the past three games with a hairline fracture of his right ankle. He said he should be healthy enough to do his usual off-season workouts.


    To fill their roster, the Steelers signed tight end Jamie McCoy, safety Damon Cromartie-Smith and linebacker Marshall McFadden. The latter two were on the team's practice squad and McCoy had been released from the practice squad Nov. 22.


    Those who did not practice Wednesday were receiver Mike Wallace (hip), and defensive backs Curtis Brown (ankle), Keenan Lewis (knee) and Troy Polamalu (precaution). Offensive tackle Mike Adams (ankle) was limited.


    For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette on the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Ed Bouchette
    First Published December 27, 2012 12:00 am

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  4. #4
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    Collapse of the OL = Collapse of Ben. When the OL was healthy Ben was having the best season of his career. OL is decimated by injuries and the wheels come off the offense. It's not a Haley problem. It's not a Ben problem. We still need to make the OL better. The poor OL is the common variable in Arians' inconsistent offenses and the inconsistent offense we had in the second half of the season.
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  5. #5
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    Maybe Ben just doesn't care as much about football any more and his time and attention are being placed elsewhere.

    He's gone through a lot - motorcycle accident, GA, Vegas, marriage, baby, etc. And he's made a boatload of money. He's in a position where football is no longer the be all end all for him.

    I remember Chad Johnson saying that when his ability to make money off the field became bigger than his ability to make money on the field, he didn't put all his effort and focus into football any longer. And that's why his production fell off. He sorta lost interest.

    I hear a lot of guys talking about how a Troy Polamalu could walk away from the game early before he has to. What if the guy that walks away early and really becomes disinterested in football is Ben?

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    I rewatched the PIT-CIN game on NFLN. (I know, I am a sadist). Anyway, did anyone catch the last two Steeler offensive plays? Redman was wide open on the play before Ben's INT and also on the INT. I understand Ben was focused down field due to the time issue, but I think Redman easily gains 20 yds and gets out of bounds to save clock. It seems Ben was back into old habits of looking for the big play rather than taking what was given. Early in the season, he was taking the dump passes and was successful in long time-consuming drives.

    The question is; can the 'backyard' ever be taken out of Ben?

    Also, I have never seen a RB come to a complete stop at the line of scrimmage like Mendenhall does. On the third and short where he was dumped for a loss, he completely stopped instead of putting his head down and getting as low as possible. Mendenhall has proven he is not a very good back in traffic. (a replay also showed in waving the #$#%# ball away from his body as he was running.... just asking for another fumble). What can these coaches do to make them play disciplined football?
    Last edited by NorthCoast; 12-27-2012 at 10:02 AM.

  7. #7
    Hall of Famer SidSmythe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
    Maybe having a pregnant wife, then a baby, mixed with an injury played a part in his lackluster play after the injury.
    I was thinking the same thing. That first child is enough to make any guy silly. It did me....but then again i couldn't afford a nanny, a maid and whatever help I'd need to make it easier.
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  8. #8
    Hall of Famer Mister Pittsburgh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCoast View Post
    I rewatched the PIT-CIN game on NFLN. (I know, I am a sadist). Anyway, did anyone catch the last two Steeler offensive plays? Redman was wide open on the play before Ben's INT and also on the INT. I understand Ben was focused down field due to the time issue, but I think Redman easily gains 20 yds and gets out of bounds to save clock. It seems Ben was back into old habits of looking for the big play rather than taking what was given. Early in the season, he was taking the dump passes and was successful in long time-consuming drives.

    The question is; can the 'backyard' ever be taken out of Ben?

    Also, I have never seen a RB come to a complete stop at the line of scrimmage like Mendenhall does. On the third and short where he was dumped for a loss, he completely stopped instead of putting his head down and getting as low as possible. Mendenhall has proven he is not a very good back in traffic. (a replay also showed in waving the #$#%# ball away from his body as he was running.... just asking for another fumble). What can these coaches do to make them play disciplined football?
    Mendenhall isn't a very good RB in my opinion. On paper he had 50 yards on 11 carries but 20 of those came on one carry meaning beyond that he had 10 carries for 30 yards. As was mentioned he was also carrying the ball a foot from his body. I'm not a fan of his on field play or his off field persona.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    Collapse of the OL = Collapse of Ben. When the OL was healthy Ben was having the best season of his career. OL is decimated by injuries and the wheels come off the offense. It's not a Haley problem. It's not a Ben problem. We still need to make the OL better. The poor OL is the common variable in Arians' inconsistent offenses and the inconsistent offense we had in the second half of the season.
    I agree with this. DeCastro's injury in preseason looms large in retrospect. If we can draft one more OL and solidify the line for years to come, a lot of the existing problems will become more manageable for the Steelers (protecting Ben, running more effectively, controlling the clock to help our defense). The injuries hurt us badly this year. Barring another disastrous string of injuries next year, we are perhaps 1 draft pick from having a dominant line.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCHammer View Post
    I agree with this. DeCastro's injury in preseason looms large in retrospect. If we can draft one more OL and solidify the line for years to come, a lot of the existing problems will become more manageable for the Steelers (protecting Ben, running more effectively, controlling the clock to help our defense). The injuries hurt us badly this year. Barring another disastrous string of injuries next year, we are perhaps 1 draft pick from having a dominant line.
    DD, the no. 1 draft pick, was beaten like a ragdoll for most of the game by a 4th rd DT. Yes, he is very inexperienced but I expected a little more based on the pre/post draft hype on the guy. The Steelers need better play from the picks they already have, or cull the dead wood and move on.

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