Steelers QB report card: Ben Roethlisberger falls flat vs Bengals

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7).
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). /
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense was a catastrophe against the Bengals Sunday. How much of the blame deserves to be placed on the quarterback?

There is no sugar coating it: Ben Roethlisberger and the majority of the offense looked awful against Cincinnati on Sunday. Outside of Najee Harris and maybe Chase Claypool, nobody on offense showed up in the 24-10 loss.

There was optimism coming from some about the passing game after it improved against the Raiders, including myself. But Ben’s performance squashed those hopes in a big way, and it may force the Steelers to make some big changes.

One of the topics that inevitably will be all over the news is whether Tomlin should bench Roethlisberger. While it’s more than fair to believe he should, it is a complicated subject. Not only would it be very awkward to do that to a team legend, but it would also be hard to sell the rest of the idea.

Despite all of the poor play, you can tell his teammates are still on his side. That isn’t a bad thing, of course, but it may become a locker room issue if Mason Rudolph (or possibly Dwayne Haskins) also struggle behind this porous offensive line while Ben wastes away on the bench.

The biggest reason though for why benching Roethlisberger would be pointless is the uninspiring options behind him. It would be a much different conversation if we had a Trey Lance or a Justin Fields waiting in the wings.

Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. Rudolph and Haskins are fringe starters on their best day at this point, which doesn’t guarantee they would be any better than Ben. They may be younger and have more mobility, especially in Haskins’ case, but neither has shown any real promise in their career. Rudolph especially has struggled against pressure, and the pressure isn’t going anywhere overnight.

I did support the idea of benching Ben during the game this week, but it was mostly to protect him and keep him from continuing to spiral. At the end of the day, Ben gives us the best chance to win now and as the team hopefully improves throughout the season. That is unfortunately more of a criticism of the backups and less of an endorsement of Ben.

Now that we have gotten that conversation out of the way, let’s move on to Ben’s best throw of the day. Or at least that’s what I would normally say, but this week I feel the need to talk about what I thought his worst throw of the day was, and it’s probably not the one you are thinking.