The Steelers‘ four-game profitable streak has quieted a number of the criticism surrounding Ben Roethlisberger. The narrative has shifted from this unquestionably being Roethlisberger’s final season to the opportunity of Roethlisberger returning for a nineteenth season in 2022.
Whereas it isn’t all the time fairly, Roethlisberger is discovering methods to assist the Steelers win. In Monday evening’s win over the Bears, Roethlisberger submitted his fiftieth profession game-winning drive. It was his fourth game-winning drive of the 2021 season, an NFL greatest. And after a 1-3 begin, Roethlisberger and the Steelers are 5-3 and proper within the thick of issues within the AFC playoff race.
“I would not make the idea that it is his final 12 months,” CBS Sports activities NFL analyst Charles Davis stated of Roethlisberger. “I do not suppose he is the problem that individuals wish to make it out to be. In quite a lot of methods, he is the glue holding them collectively.”
Davis factors to the Steelers’ season-opening win over the Payments when detailing Roethlisberger’s impression. With a slew of latest faces on offense that included 4 rookies and three new starters on the offensive line, the Steelers’ offense fell on Roethlisberger’s shoulders. After not scoring some extent within the first half, Roethlisberger led the Steelers on 4 second half scoring drives that included his go-ahead landing move to Diontae Johnson.
“They performed that total second half via Ben Roethlisberger,” Davis stated, “and he carried them house — with the protection — that day.”
Talking of protection, Davis likes what he’s seeing from Pittsburgh on that facet of the ball. He touted Cam Heyward as one of many league’s most underrated gamers. Davis additionally talked about T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick as key members of a unit that’s eight within the NFL in scoring, eight in third-down effectivity and fourth in purple zone effectivity.
The protection has been complemented by an offense that has gotten vastly higher play from its quarterback. Roethlisberger has a cumulative passer score of 106.3 over the previous 4 video games after having a score of 80 throughout Pittsburgh’s 1-3 begin. Roethlisberger has thrown six touchdowns and no interceptions throughout their four-game profitable streak after throwing as many touchdowns (4) as interceptions thrown through the season’s first month.
A number of issues have modified over the previous 4 video games. Pittsburgh has emphasised a extra balanced offensive assault that has led to Roethlisberger throwing over 40 fewer passes over the previous month than he did through the season’s first 4 video games. The passing pecking order is extra outlined, led by Johnson and Chase Claypool. Rookie tight finish Pat Freiermuth has emerged as a potent weapon in Pittsburgh’s offense. Fellow rookie Najee Harris has made the impression the Steelers hoped he would after they made him the primary operating again chosen within the draft. Harris has continued to achieve traction with Pittsburgh’s still-developing offensive line.
Put all of it collectively, and you’ve got a Steelers group that may move Baltimore and into first place within the AFC North with a win Sunday over the winless Lions. If the Steelers can navigate via a tricky schedule down the stretch, Davis can actually see a situation the place Roethlisberger is again beneath heart in Pittsburgh in 2022.
“His play is just not the problem,” Davis stated. “They’re persevering with to get higher operating it. That offensive line is getting higher at what they do. … This group is getting higher. I stated in preseason that I assumed they’d be a robust playoff contender. Individuals went away from them; I by no means shied away from it. I simply by no means thought that they’d ever go away.”
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