After an erratic performance in Sunday’s Wild Card playoff game, Ben Roethlisberger retreated to the safety of his team’s bench. The 38-year-old sat there for a time, pondering over his vast mistakes that led to the Steelers demise against the Browns.
Roethlisberger contributed to five turnovers in Pittsburgh’s playoff loss to Cleveland on Sunday night. Despite throwing for 501 yards and four touchdowns, the Steelers quarterback threw four interceptions, including three in the first half, and was part of a botched snap that led directly to a Browns score. Cleveland pounced on Pittsburgh in the first quarter and never looked back advancing to the Divisional round with a 48-37 win.
As former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon watched the game, he found himself unsurprised at the Steelers collapse. Like many others, the CBS analyst identified Pittsburgh and Roethlisberger as shaky down the stretch in the regular season. Every problem from the last few weeks manifested itself into the Steelers playoff performance on Sunday.
“I gotta be honest I wasn’t shocked by what I saw last night in the first half. The Steelers clearly were not ready to play,” Gannon said on Monday following Pittsburgh’s loss. “Four first half turnovers, including three interceptions from Ben Roethlisberger. Look, this was a team that started 11-0, but what’s happened over the last month and a half… They have been a very poor football team. The reason why? Turnovers.”
“I gotta be honest I wasn’t shocked by what I saw last night in the first half. The Steelers clearly were not ready to play.”@RichGannon12 breaks down Big Ben and the Steelers mistakes last night. pic.twitter.com/WOEj6nduUg
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) January 11, 2021
Right from the jump, the Steelers appeared out of sorts. On the team’s first offensive snap of the game, center Maurkice Pouncey launched the ball over Roesthlisberger’s head, back towards Pittsburgh’s end zone. The Browns defense swarmed towards the football and recovered it for a touchdown.
From there, the rout was on. Cleveland picked off Roethlisbeger two times in the first quarter and Baker Mayfield quickly led the team down the field for six points on each drive. The Browns found themselves up by an insurmountable 28 points after the first 15 minutes and continued the onslaught from there. Mayfield won the game with an efficient night, going 21-for-34 for 263 yards and three touchdowns.
The loss brought the Steelers season to a close and with it, speculation about Roethlisberger’s future in Pittsburgh. The 38-year-old definitely left Heinz Field on Sunday with a bitter taste in his mouth and will want a chance at redemption. The veteran quarterback should return in 2021 as the Steelers have him on the books for over $41 million against the cap.
If Roethlisberger can’t turn it around at the start of next year, his days in Pittsburgh will be numbered.
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