Roethlisberger's apology is a good start

While Ben Roethlisberger's comments about the playcalling Sunday were overblown, he did the right thing by stepping up and diffusing any talk of a feud or disconnect with offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Roethlisberger apologized to Haley Monday morning after informing coach Mike Tomlin and Steelers President Art Rooney II that he was sorry.

The Steelers' playoff hopes are on the line Sunday, and this team doesn't need the distraction of an unhappy quarterback. By apologizing, Roethlisberger made sure the focus is on a must-win game, not the playcalling.

"There won't be any rift," Roethlisberger said, via USA Today. "Everything is fine. I don't even think Todd was upset with it. He said, 'I appreciate you coming. But I don't think you needed to.' We're good to go."

Roethlisberger added, "That was just frustration, which normally doesn't get to me when speaking publicly. It was more frustration with myself than anything. We spoke on Monday. I wanted to make sure I was going to come in and apologize for causing an issue to Mike Tomlin, to Todd and Mr. Rooney."

The Steelers need more than an apology from Roethlisberger this month. They need the same quarterback who repeatedly led the team to close victories late in the season. Roethlisberger is 0-2 since returning from rib and shoulder injuries, and he's played a big part in both losses. He turned the ball over twice against the Chargers (fumble on a lateral and an interception over the middle of the field) and threw the game-turning pick in overtime in Dallas.

Pittsburgh can still make the playoffs by winning its final two regular-season games, home against the Bengals and Browns. Roethlisberger is 27-5 against the Ohio teams for his career. That's the Roethlisberger that the Steelers need for the rest of the season.