While he clearly had his hands full with Jaguars defense yesterday, by the looks of it Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was even more dreading the barrage of reporters that he knew would be hounding him in the locker room about how terribly he played, tossing five interceptions—two returned for touchdowns—with no touchdown passes to make up for them.
Most of the questions that he was asked all circled back to one simple answer, or at least a derivation thereof: this was on me, and I need to do better. How do you do that? You don’t panic. You just do it.
You’ll notice that we did not on our site indulge in the clickbait line that so many other websites pounced on from his post-game interview. That headlining comment was, in fact, not even included in the official transcript. But let’s address it right now, in the video attached.
It seems to me impossible to discern exactly the question that he was asked, but the gist of it is clear enough. Some reporter asked Roethlisberger basically if he thought he was losing his ability to play. His response was terse and humorless, initially responding with a “don’t think so”, then quickly rebuffing it was a sardonic, “but maybe I am, maybe I don’t have it anymore”.
So many of the questions that he was asked met the same response: “I’m not playing well enough”. It was as though the reporters expected him to say anything other than that. it was clear to everybody watching that he is not playing well enough, which is the primary catalyst for the struggles.
Asked what is not happening in the passing game that is holding it back: “I’m not playing well enough”. Asked what needs to happen to reach the offense’s potential: “me playing better”. Asked where the improvement needs to come from: “this improvement needs to come from me before next week”.
You get the picture. This was a public self-flagellation session. He took all the blame for himself, as he was expected to, and as he should have—and as was deserved.
But he did not say that he is done. He did not say that he can’t do this anymore. He said that he needs to get better. He’s not in retirement mode. He’s just playing poorly. And he played poorly against the top-ranked passing defense, one that played coverages he has been particularly susceptible to struggling against.
The new week is a new opportunity and the loss will mean no more just because of how it felt. The only focus now is winning next week. How? “Just bounce back”.
“Like I said, doing this long enough, you understand not to panic and not to hit buttons, where it’s like, ‘oh man, what do I do, change all this and that [or] go see people?’. You just come out on Wednesday, and be ready to practice”.
It’s that simple. If it works. But that’s just it: it either works or it doesn’t. There’s little else you can do about it.