PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- Coming off a 28-12 victory against the Browns that got the Steelers into the playoffs, Ben Roethlisberger joined “The Cook and Poni Show” on Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan for the “#1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger Show” to talk about their first round matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday at 8:15 p.m.
Roethlisberger opened things up by talking about when he started checking in on the Bills-Jets score as the Steelers needed a Buffalo victory to get into the playoffs.
“That’s about when I found out was late, I wasn’t paying attention to the scoreboard. I had enough to worry about with what was going on on the field with us,” Roethlisberger said. “Towards the end, once we got up by two scores, the fans were kind of cheering and stuff and then you were kind of checking in with people on the sidelines. They were kind of giving us a heads up of what was going on.”
With the team now locked into the sixth seed, Roethlisberger was asked if the message to the team is to make the most out of a second chance – thanks to the Bills.
“We want to make the most out of any opportunity we get no matter if it’s us or whoever. We just wanted to get in, that’s always the goal is getting into the postseason because you throw records out the window, you throw where you play out the window, you throw everything out the window because it’s a one-game season,” he said.
Looking back at the victory over the Browns that got them into the playoffs, the offense struggled at times. Ben analyzed their effort and if they were happy with it.
“We did some really good things, obviously the things that kill us are turnovers,” Ben said. “On the opening drive, Antonio [Brown] fumbles, you don’t expect that. I throw two interceptions…We did still capitalize on some drives. We had some long drives, some good third down conversions. We got ourselves out of some backed up situations. All in all, I think it was a pretty good day, but we have to be better.”
Despite those struggles at times and Ben throwing two interceptions on Sunday, he said he feels like both he and the offense are playing at a high level.
“I fell like I’m playing well, but more importantly, I feel like our offense is playing well…We come out this week, we should have scored 30, I missed AB on a late touchdown pass that was just silly on my part. Offensively, we’re doing some really good things.”
The offense did take a hit last week when running back DeAngelo Williams went down with an ankle injury. Ben talked about what the loss of DeAngelo would mean.
“DeAngelo has been awesome for this team,” Ben said. “I think his presence in the pass game whether it’s blocking or receiving out of the backfield has been huge for us.”
All that said, potentially losing DeAngelo like they have is very similar to what happened to Le’Veon Bell last year. However, Ben said there is a key difference between what happened last year and what will happen this week.
“Where it’s different than last year is we have Fitz [Fitzgerald Toussaint], [Jordan] Toddman and Will Johnson. We’ve got guys that have been here for longer than half a week like we did last year,” he said.
To make up for the loss of Williams, the pass game will need to get back in gear and a large part of that will be Martavis Bryant, who has just two catches for six yards in his last two games.
“He needs to understand that, and this is coming from love from me and other guys, that this time of year, you’ve got to toughen up. You’ve got to get tough and you’ve got to make tough plays and you’ve got to make tough catches and you have to find ways to do everything you can to help this team,” Ben said.
One thing that will certainly play in the Steelers’ favor this week is that they feel more than comfortable going into Cincinnati. They’ve gone 11-2 at Paul Brown Stadium since Roethlisberger came into the league back in 2004. Ben talked about that level of comfort and why it exists.
“I don’t know, I think just that it’s not a far trip, it’s kind of an easy trip. It’s a North opponent that you play there so often, you play there every year, so you just kind of get familiar and comfortable with the hotel, the locker room, just everything,” he said.
The last time these two teams met, there was nearly a pregame fight and players were going at each other all throughout the game. Ben was asked whether he expects more of that this week, or if it will just be a straight forward game.
“I assume it’s just going to be straight up football because you can’t really afford to hurt your team. I know our guys are going to go into it just like we did last time just trying to play ball, so that’s our mentality is let’s just go and try to win this football game,” he said.
Things wrapped up this week on “The #1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger Show” with Ben sharing the message he’ll deliver to his teammates right before kickoff Saturday night.
“It’s going to be kind of what we talked about with Martavis and just challenging each guy,” Ben said. “It doesn’t matter what records are. It doesn’t matter that Antonio Brown led the league or whatever. All the stats, all the numbers, all the everything gets thrown out the window…It’s really just about your desire and your want to…and just knowing that you’re going to have to have the ultimate sacrifice this week and it’s only one week at a time.”
You can hear the full interview here.
The “#1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger Show” is heard exclusively every Tuesday at 11 a.m. during the Steelers’ season on “The Cook and Poni Show” on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.