Pittsburgh Steelers: More to the story than poor quarterback play

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 08: Ben Roethlisberger
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 08: Ben Roethlisberger /

The Pittsburgh Steelers ran the ball 15 times against the NFL’s worst rush defense.

Five interceptions is a terrible game. Losing 30-9 against the Jacksonville Jaguars is something no one expected. But what’s happening to Ben Roethlisberger is something no one believed they’d ever see.

At 35-years-old, Big Ben finally looks like he needs more help than the Steelers can provide. Not that he’s now a bad quarterback, or can’t win. It’s more the fact that after 13 years of getting pounded by defensive linemen, Roethlisberger isn’t the same, “create plays out of nothing” player he once was.

While the Steelers’ offensive line is arguably one of the best in the league, it’s not strong enough to stop the league’s top pass defense 55 times. Actually, there probably isn’t an offensive line that’ll stop a top defense nearly 60 times in a game.

Roethlisberger could’ve played better, and when playing from behind you need to pass the ball more than you run it. We all know this. But at one point, Pittsburgh wasn’t playing from 20 down.

Jacksonville may have the best pass defense in the NFL, but they have the worst rush defense. Funny considering Le’Veon Bell ran the ball 35 times in Week 4 but only had 15 chances to get anything going against THE LEAGUE’S WORST RUN DEFENSE.

While there is plenty of blame to put on Roethlisberger, most of it needs to go to a poor coaching performance. For a player who’s 35, no one should expect him to escape the pocket and make plays time and time again. Once in awhile, yes, it’d be nice to see the old Big Ben run to the outside and find Antonio Brown 20 yards downfield, but not on every play.

Todd Haley needs to be accountable for this one. Big Ben could’ve done better, yes, but at the end of it all, Haley decided to play Madden instead of NFL football and launch the ball down field every chance he could.

If Bell got the ball 25-plus times in this one, Pittsburgh probably would’ve kept the upper hand. The Jacksonville offense was nearly unstoppable, but if they don’t have the ball for 28 minutes, Leonard Fournette wouldn’t have gotten to build the momentum he did, and it would’ve been a much slower paced game.

Pittsburgh needed a different gameplan. Against a defense like Jacksonville’s, they shouldn’t have even come into the matchup expecting to throw the ball 50 times.

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It looks bad for Ben Roethlisberger after having a game like this, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. Five interceptions aren’t acceptable. Todd Haley not giving one of the best running backs in the NFL the ball more than 15 times is even worse.