While there is no shortage of Ben Roethlisberger critics these days, perhaps particularly among Pittsburgh Steelers fans, few of them can live up to the same level of criticism that he gives himself after he struggles. The 15-year veteran was very negative in his assessment of his performance on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, for example.
He took a couple of days to reassess, but came back yesterday to say on his radio appearance on 93.7 FM that he believed it was still pretty bad, though not quite as bad as he initially thought. His hosts asked him if he felt doubt was setting in, and he got a one-liner out of that.
“I didn’t even want to joke about after this game”, he said. You might well recall what he is referring to. Following a Week Five game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last season in which he threw five interceptions, he was asked immediately after the game about his struggles and facetiously said, “maybe I don’t have it anymore”. That comments was interpreted with sincerity by many reporters, including some who were even in the media scrum when he said it.
But he said that his confidence is not shaken yet this year. He is on pace to throw 32 touchdowns this year, which would tie a career-high. “Honestly, when you have a game like this, I think it’s more a thing that can happen if you start having multiple bad games, starting getting in a slump”, Roethlisberger said. “When you start having multiple bad games and things like that then your confidence will” suffer.
Rather, he went on, “when I have a bad game like this, I’m more like, I’m ready to get back on the field and go, like a wounded animal type thing, I know that sounds silly. Right now it’s not a lack of confidence for me. I want to get back out that and show how I can bounce back”.
He did bounce back following the Jaguars loss last year. He averaged 10 yards per pass attempt in the next game as the team began a lengthy winning streak, and he was putting up MVP numbers in the second half of the year. Can he do that again?
Well, he believes he has the conditioning for it. Responding to comments about age catching up to him, he said, “I feel like I’m looking pretty young out there. Wasn’t it last week at the end of the game where they were saying ‘that’s vintage Ben’, moving around, making that last throw? I don’t think age catches you in five days”.