PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger isn’t afraid of being labeled a "game manager." In fact, he seems to embrace it -- in basketball terms, at least.
“I played point guard in high school. All-American point guard, I’d like to say,” said Roethlisberger with a smile. “So I’m used to distributing the ball and getting us in the best play possible.”
Roethlisberger, a standout point guard at Findlay (Ohio) High School, has helped the Steelers earn a 6-2 record but hasn’t experienced the passing-game production from a few years back. His passer rating of 82.7 is his lowest since 2008, though his five-interception performance in Week 5 against Jacksonville is considered an aberration. His 34.3 passing attempts per game are down slightly from the previous few years as the team relies heavily on running back Le'Veon Bell.
Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said he’s not alarmed by Roethlisberger’s play.
Roethlisberger believes winning with game management without big stats is “absolutely” as rewarding as firing 50 passes a game. The quarterback pointed out he feels like an extension of the coaching staff with run-pass checks, communicating and finding the right matchups.
“I feel like I’ve been as involved and had as good of a season maybe between the years as I have maybe ever,” Roethlisberger said. “Now that I’ve got so many weapons, that’s what’s important... It’s about feeling the game out.”
Rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster broke out with 193 yards in Week 8, with Antonio Brown leading the league in receiving and Bell third in rushing. Martavis Bryant returns from an in-house suspension this week.
Despite all that talent, the Steelers are 20th in scoring offense at 20.9 points per game.
Roethlisberger aims to change that.
“We’d like to do what we can to put as many points on the board, because that takes pressure off our defense,” Roethlisberger said. “We love the way they are playing, it’s a lot of fun to watch, but we need to do our part.”