PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joined The Cook and Poni Show on Tuesday to talk about the Steelers opening day win at Cleveland and to preview the home opener Sunday against a very impressive Minnesota Vikings team.
In the Steelers 21-18 opening week victory over the Browns, Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown connected on 11 passes to lead the way for the Steelers as they held on to beat their AFC North rival and Ben shared with us why he wasn’t at all shocked by what Brown did in their opener.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Ben told us about Browns 182-yard day. “I don’t think anybody works as hard as he does and I don’t think anybody works as well as two people do as him and I do…What we’ve done together these last few years playing together, the chemistry that we have, the understanding that we have, the looks, just everything we do to me is on a different level and he’s a different level receiver.
One player Ben did come away from the game impressed by was tight end Jesse James who he says was motivated by the trade for Vance McDonald.
“I think Jesse has benefited the most of anybody from the Vance trade,” Ben told us. “He kind of took it personal.” James recorded 6 catches for 41 yards, but more importantly two touchdowns.
Ben pointed out on play in particular where Antonio Brown was streaking down the field after catching a pass and James was doing everything he could to get out ahead of Brown and make just one more block to spring him free and paid James one of the biggest compliments a Steelers tight end could receive.
“That’s a Heath Miller play, if you will. Heath Miller would have done something like that. It’s good to see Jesse do that and I’m really happy for him. He’s not playing JV, I promise you that.
Aside from Brown and James, there were lots of struggles on the offensive side of the ball as it looked like they were shaking off the rust, but Ben isn’t concerned.
“We won the football game, right? This isn’t the BCS, it’s not college, style points don’t matter. We went into that game and we were supposed to win it right on paper, and we won it. If we don’t win it, then everybody is going to be talking about “why didn’t they win the game?” Well we won the game, that should be all that matters.”
Ben went on to admit though that they weren’t at their best and they want “to be the best every week,” but at the end of the day, they still won the game.
A large part of those struggles stemmed from a lack of running game as Le’Veon Bell rushed for just 32 yards on 10 attempts, one of the worst games of his professional career, so naturally Ben was asked if that was due to Bell shaking off rust after holding out during training camp.
“He probably didn’t get the touches and the carries and everything that he would have probably liked, but that’s just a result of the system of defense that we played.”
So while many were calling out Bell for his poor performance, Ben told us it wasn’t a product of him not being ready.
“The biggest thing for me when we get out there is communication. Is he asking a lot of questions, is he looking bug-eyed if you will when plays are called and things like that, and there was none of that. I thought there was great communication.”
Ben admitted there were some miscues between him and Bell where they weren’t able to connect, but says he feels good about where they are moving forward.
Click the audio link above to hear more from Ben as he talked about what he saw from Martavis Bryant in his first game in over a year, why he thinks there were so many penalties called against his team and why he was caught clinging to a defensive players ankle.
You can hear The #1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger Show every Tuesday at 11am on The Cook and Poni Show on Sportsradio 93-7 the Fan.