A weekly analysis of the Steelers’ quarterback play:
Rewind: Ben Roethlisberger completed 26 of 41 passes for 406 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 40-23 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. He posted his highest passer rating of the season (92.1) despite throwing two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. The passer rating does not reflect the two fumbles Roethlisberger also lost, and the four turnovers overshadowed the fact that the 10-year veteran threw for more than 400 yards for the fourth time in his career.
Fast-forward: Roethlisberger and coach Mike Tomlin both said his lost fumbles weren’t a result of careless play but could be attributed more to the Bears’ opportunistic defense. Still, Roethlisberger has to be better, and he said as much Tuesday morning on his weekly radio show. It is not in Roethlisberger’s DNA to play it safe so don’t expect him to be more conservative after escaping a collapsing pocket. And his past success suggests that tweaking his style more than changing it would be best for the two-time Super Bowl winner as well as the Steelers.
Looking out for No. 1: Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh that he has challenged Antonio Brown to assert himself as a No. 1 receiver. Brown did just that against the Bears, torching their secondary for 196 receiving yards on nine catches and a pair of touchdowns. What encouraged Roethlisberger most about Brown’s touchdowns is how he battled for both of them and made tough catches in the end zone. Roethlisberger said it is vital for a quarterback to trust that he can throw the ball to his No. 1 receiver and know he is going to make a play, even if he is well covered.
Prediction: This Sunday certainly looks like a get-well game for Roethlisberger. The Minnesota Vikings are No. 28 in the NFL in passing defense, and they are yielding 315.7 passing yards per game. The running game should continue to come around with rookie Le’Veon Bell in the mix. And, hey, what’s not to like about Big Ben in London?