Starks on Steelers' woes: 'It's not all the blame on Ben… everybody's at fault'


The Pittsburgh Steelers' hopes of contending for a championship this season may soon be dashed. Ben Roethlisberger isn't getting any better, or younger.

The 39-year-old quarterback looked dejected in the Steelers' 24-10 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Although he completed 38 of 58 passes for 318 yards, the offense was dreadfully stagnant, and his lack of athleticism and arm strength were once again exposed.

Of course, the Steelers' abysmal offensive line contributed to Roethlisberger's glaring struggles. He was constantly under duress, unable to salvage drives with the protection offered. And this is why former Steelers offensive tackle Max Starks believes the team's glaring decline isn't solely on Roethlisberger.

"It's not all the blame on Ben. There's too many fingers to point, to sit there and put it squarely on one person or situation," Starks told The DA Show on Monday. "Falling down and all the duress he was under, that's a comfortability issue with a quarterback and offensive line, trusting his receiving weapons... There's plenty of blame to go around.

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"[Offensive coordinator] Matt Canada and some of the play call selections and personnel selections, not optimal. The offensive line giving up pressures all day, Ben never feeling comfortable in the pocket, Najee [Harris] missing holes in the run game. So, there's plenty of blame to pass and spread on that offensive slice of bread... everybody's at fault."

Pittsburgh's dysfunction was encapsulated by a confounding decision by Roethlisberger late in the fourth quarter. With the Steelers down 14 points, facing a 4th-and-10 inside the red zone, Roethlisberger threw a check-down pass to Harris that was six yards behind the line of scrimmage. The play went for no gain, forcing a turnover on downs.

Roethlisberger's poor arm strength has also eliminated the deep ball threat -- according to Next Gen Stats, of his 130 total pass attempts, 13 have traveled 20-plus yards. In the Steelers' Week 2 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, he didn't throw a single pass in the middle of the field beyond 10 yards. He managed to throw just three on Sunday.

Through three games, Roethlisberger has completed 63.8-percent of his passes for 801 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Pittsburgh (1-2) will visit the Green Bay Packers (2-1) in a Week 4 matchup on Sunday, Oct. 3. According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the Steelers have just a 13-percent chance to reach the playoffs and a 5-percent chance to win the AFC North.

The entire football conversation between Starks and DA can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow The DA Show on Twitter @DAonCBS and @CBSSportsRadio, and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.