PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Coming off his team’s dominant 38-16 season opening win against the Washington Redskins, Ben Roethlisberger joined “The Cook and Poni Show” for his weekly meeting on “The #1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger Show” and said the offense met their goals after a slow start.
“It was a good performance,” Ben said. “Our goal is always obviously number one to win, we did that. Everyone kind of knows that 30 points is our goal on offense and we hit that as well. I thought it was a good day.”
It wasn’t all good early on and Ben alluded to that.
“Little bit of a slower start than we wanted, but you know, it’s the first game, everyone’s got jitters, myself included. We had a slow start, but we finished strong,” he said.
The offense really started clicking after a 4th-and-1 play in the second quarter. where they decided to go for it. But they didn’t just go for the first down, they went for the endzone and completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. Ben shed some light on the decision-making process.
“I have the freedom from the coaching staff to kind of go for it on fourth, to do things, but at that particular point in the game, I don’t want to jump to any conclusions…they called a play to us and it was a play we had been working on,” he said.
One aspect of the offense that was a big question mark heading into the season opener was the tight end position with Ladarius Green sidelined. Now, the question was how Jesse James would do in a starting role. Needless to say, Ben was impressed with what he saw from the second-year tight end.
“He moved the chains last night,” Ben said. “He was where he needed to be, he made a lot of tough combat catches. You know, catch and then guys are falling down at his legs and he’s getting hit hard, but he’s getting first downs. To me, that was a huge step for Jesse James last night.”
As Ben says every week, the offense’s success is a product of the offensive line and “we go as they go.” That being said, the guys up front had a big performance last night.
“I thought they played awesome last night. I think everyone, like I said, had some jitters early and there are some things that, if you ask them, they would like to correct and get better, but all-in-all, you can’t complain. They kept guys off me and they opened up holes in the run game,” he said.
One of the reasons for the offensive line looking so good was the return of Maurkice Pouncey after missing almost all of last season and Ben shared the advice he gave in the pregame.
“I was talking to him before the game and I said, ‘Hey, just let the game come to you. I know you’re going to be antsy and excited.’ And he was. He needed to get out there for warm-ups, he needed to hit somebody for the first time,” Ben said.
Now that they have the first game under their belt and the jitters out of the way, the Steelers can turn their focus to their huge Week 2 AFC North match-up against the Cincinnati Bengals. Ben has already delivered a message to his team.
“We deserve to enjoy this first win on the road, but lets not kid anybody, we know what’s coming up in a real short week,” he said.
Ben also discussed all the extracurricular play that took place after the whistle last year when these two teams met and how he hopes things go this year.
“It’s one thing to be a physical, hard fought football game, it’s another thing to be cheap and dirty. So, hopefully it just stays clean and is a fun football game for both sides,” Ben said.
Click the link below to hear the full audio of Ben’s weekly show as he also talked about what he saw from some of his young receivers and how much of the no-huddle was planned going into last night’s game.