A game that you lose by 30 points, whether it’s 33-3 or 63-33, is going to reveal a lot of things that went wrong. When you’re the franchise quarterback of a team, though, you always start with yourself and look to how you could have done better. Unless it was a punch of kick return touchdowns, followed by fumbles on the ensuing kickoffs that followed, chances are your own performance played some sort of role in your team’s failure.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger certainly was a part of the problem last night in the 33-3 loss to the New England Patriots that saw them score their fewest points since a similar blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Three of 2016, 34-3.
Roethlisberger ultimately completed 27 of 47 passes for 276 yards with one interception, but much of that came during garbage time. 65 of those yards came on the final drive, including a 21-yard completion to Vance McDonald with six seconds left.
While Roethlisberger’s targets did him no favors with a number of drops or failures to secure contested catches, he was also off on several passes himself, including a number of deep targets, and he pointed the finger at himself, first and foremost.
“I wasn’t good enough”, he said after the game. “I wasn’t giving guys balls where they needed to catch them. I put them in front, behind, things like that. I wasn’t good enough”.
Truth be told, Roethlisberger has a history of getting off to rough starts, including last season. 2019 has already proven to be no exception. This is the first time since back in the 2017 season that he completed a game without throwing a touchdown pass, so you know it’s a bad sign.
It was also the first game of the post-Antonio Brown era, which clearly didn’t go well. While JuJu Smith-Schuster caught six of eight targets for 78 yards, his impact on the game was pretty minimal, and his final reception came with two minutes to play for nine yards, on which he injured his toe.
The rest of the supporting cast, arguably short of James Washington, who caught a bomb but didn’t have much of a chance on his other deep targets, also fell short, particularly Donte Moncrief, but also Ryan Switzer as well.