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Diontae Johnson: Steelers ‘Gonna Go Out With A Bang’ With This Is It For Big Ben Or Not

Barring the unlikely, Ben Roethlisberger is playing in his final season as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which means that Monday’s game against the Cleveland Browns is highly likely to be his final game at Heinz Field—even if they do reach the postseason, it’s more likely to be as a Wild Card.

Head coach Mike Tomlin tried to suggest that they’re not thinking about that, but reporters will be sure to bring it up. I’m sure Roethlisberger is thinking about it. He is human, after all, and is coming to a close on one of the most significant chapters of his life—likely the most significant, short of his family.

One way or another, though, the wide receivers understand that their job is to make the quarterback look good, and that is the mindset that they have taken all year, as Diontae Johnson talked about on Monday after the Chiefs loss.

The whole year, we’ve said that the offense is gonna go as we go, the receivers, because the receivers are gonna lead us, regardless”, he said. “We put it on our shoulders that we’ve got to take over the game and make plays for the offense to get us going. We’ve been doing it all year”.

That it happens to come at the end of a franchise career with Roethlisberger is something they try not to weigh, because the reality is that the responsibility is the same regardless of the circumstances under center.

“Not knowing if this is his last year, we just go out there and make plays for him, try to make him look good, whether it’s a bad throw, good throw”, Johnson said. “We’re gonna make a play on the ball, regardless. If we feel like we’re slacking or whatnot, we put it on our shoulders. Like last night, we didn’t play that good as a group. Obviously, we could’ve played better”.

Last week was not their best showing, though both Johnson and Chase Claypool made some standout plays. Each, though, had a drop, and Johnson also fumbled the ball in the open field. Roethlisberger only completed 23 of 35 pass attempts for 159 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“We’ve just got to keep progressing. We’re gonna go out with a bang, regardless”, Johnson said. “We try not to think about it. We’ll worry about that at the end of the season. I’m sure he’s thinking the same thing, Ben. I’m just gonna keep making plays, and the guys are gonna do the same thing”.

This is their last chance to do it with Roethlisberger under center in front of the Pittsburgh faithful at Heinz Field, and it will come at a time when all eyes will be on them, in primetime on Monday night. Will they rise to the occasion?

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