Ben Roethlisberger went out with an unsurprising dud. The Steelers delivered another anemic offensive performance in their blowout loss Sunday to the Chiefs, just like they had so many times this season.
All seven of their possessions in the first half ended with a punt, with Roethlisberger not attempting a single pass in the air more than four yards. All season long, the Steelers didn’t even try to move the ball downfield. On “Sunday Night Football,” Cris Collinsworth diagnosed the reason why.
For whatever reason, new offensive coordinator Matt Canada never wanted Roethlisberger holding onto the ball for any moment of time. It’s hard to move the chains when you don’t even give plays the chance to develop.
“Either they don’t trust the protection, he’s getting the ball out of his hands in under 2 seconds, which is already faster than he was during the regular season—it was 2.2,” Collinsworth said. “And that was the fastest in the NFL.”
While that’s not a secret, it was fitting to hear one of the game’s leading analysts point out what we’ve all been seeing for the last two years. The Steelers understandably wanted to protect Roethlisberger coming off his elbow injury, and yes, they didn’t have a very good offensive line. But offensive coordinators Randy Fichtner and Canada essentially took the ball out of Roethlisberger’s hands.
As Collinsworth said, they probably didn’t trust the protection, though he notably didn’t finish the second part of his thought: they probably didn’t trust Roethlisberger, either.
When the Steelers finally woke up with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in the third, Collinsworth wondered “where that was all night.”
It was probably stored in Roethlisberger’s ego. As Gerry Dulac said, Roethlisberger probably finally ignored Canada’s direction, and went with his gut.
Too bad it was too late. If only Steelers coaches saw the game like Collinsworth, at least this time.