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Insider Only Latest Steelers Buzz: Old, Slow And Over?

Can Big Ben deliver any kind of resurgence?

The signs and flaws were all there, but a mere five to six weeks ago, no one could have imagined the Steelers, while an 11-3 football team by record, having this many concerns and problems as a football team.

The betting money on the Steelers is them losing out for the rest of the season. That’s how bad things have gone south for them and it has all started with No. 7 behind center.

Old, slow and over?

The 38 year old Roethlisberger just looks finished as a football player. The TD/INT ratio surely doesn’t give you that belief. The eye tests says it all.

Watching Roethlisberger even in the warmer stages of the season, there were clear red flags with his deep ball and passes 15+ yards where once the cold weather was upon us, the Steelers getting the ball down the field was going to be a major problem.

But, what we saw from Roethlisberger early on, was the ability to beat defenses with his eyes and mind. All the Steelers needed from Roethlisberger this season was a top-15 level and ability to burn a defense by out-smarting them with a favorable matchup.

That played out for a while and is a big reason they stacked up 10+ wins.

With more and more tape, though, on Roethlisberger and the offense as a whole, it’s a group just totally overmatched. Top-15, even top-10 level for stretches has now turned into bottom-5 level play at the QB position.

Where it all went south?

Defenses were falsely believing for the first seven to eight games that Roethlisberger could still zip a deep ball into tight coverage when he had to. Finally John Harbaugh outed Roethlisberger and the Steelers on something they somehow kept secret from the rest of the NFL until recently.

Most concerning with Roethlisberger’s play hasn’t just been the fact he can’t make tight window throws and even intermediate throws anymore. It’s the mental side of the game where he looks like a quarterback who knows he can’t make the throws anymore, doesn’t want to get hit, and it’s led to his mind spinning where he’s not seeing the field at all.

That’s what has been so stunning the last couple games. The physical and mental side of the game for Roethlisberger has crashed at the same time and when defenses are disguising defenders in coverage, it’s been a world of trouble for Roethlisberger of late. He just isn’t seeing the open receiver and is instead throwing into awful areas of the field.

It’s made routine 8-12 yard throws a struggle.

The deep ball ability is completely gone and isn’t coming back. This much we know and have for a while.

Against the Bengals, Roethlisberger completed just one of 14 attempts on throws 10 or more yards and is completing 16% of his passes 10 yards or more over the last two games. On the season he’s under 33% on throws 20 yards or more.

With the physical ability gone to play at a top-10 level, the biggest question on whether the Steelers avoid losing out this season (including the playoffs) is Roethlisberger getting back to being able to burn a defense with his eyes when the couple opportunities present themselves.

With how great Roethlisberger has been for so long in his career, there’s at least some hope that can come back for a short-period as the Steelers try to avoid an utter collapse for a team that started 11-0.

Against the Colts on Sunday, a turnaround for Roethlisberger is going to be all about his eyes in how he see’s the field. That should be telling very early on.

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About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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