NFL

Roethlisberger accepts blame amid Steelers woes: I need to be better

By Sports Desk October 06, 2021

Ben Roethlisberger said "I need to be better" as the embattled Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback accepted blame for the team's forgettable start to the NFL season.

Roethlisberger has been criticised and his future questioned amid Pittsburgh's 1-3 start to the 2021 campaign following three consecutive defeats.

The 39-year-old two-time Super Bowl champion was just 26-of-40 passing for 232 yards, a touchdown, interception and two sacks with a 78.3 quarterback rating in last week's 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

As Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin continues to field questions on Roethlisberger, the player himself took responsibility for the situation on Wednesday.

"I need to be better," Roethlisberger told reporters ahead of Sunday's clash with the Denver Broncos.

"I need to fight through and figure out how to make better decisions, how to make better throws, how to be a better football player. That's why I just said I'm not going to quit. I'm going to keep doing that.

"I'm not giving up on this season. No one in this building is. It's still early, and there's still a lot of fight left in us."

Roethlisberger's 78.9 passer rating is fifth-worst this season among qualifying quarterbacks, only ahead of Miami Dolphins backup Jacoby Brissett (77.8), Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence (66.4), first-year New York Jets QB Zach Wilson (62.8) and Davis Mills (50.4) of the Houston Texans.

His passer rating has decreased from 94.1 in 2020 – the third-largest drop (-15.2) behind Packers star Aaron Rodgers (-20.7) and Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill (-19.6).

Through four games, seven-time Pro Bowler Roethlisberger has 109 completions, 1,033 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions with 10 sacks.

Roethlisberger's completion percentage (64.1) is tied for 21st in the league, while his touchdown percentage (2.4) is the third-worst in the NFL.

"I know that I can play better football," Roethlisberger said. "I believe in myself. I know that no matter what's going on, I'm going to fight my butt off to get a win, and if that's the way I need to lead right now, by showing these guys that I'm going to do everything I can to win a football game, I'll keep doing that."

On Tuesday, Tomlin said Roethlisberger is dealing with a hip issue, and the latter added: "It's pretty sore. If I showed you the picture, you might not be too well to your stomach. It's a little black and blue.

"As a quarterback, there's so much involved in your lower body. People probably think as a quarterback or as a thrower, it's 'how's your arm doing?' Your arm is honestly a small part compared to the whole package. It's your core. It's your lower body.

"I've got to find ways to be better with my lower body. Going back and watching the game, a few times, a lot of throws I missed were missed because my lower body wasn't in sync."

Related items

  • Lewandowski hopes Messi's Ballon d'Or comments were 'not just empty words' Lewandowski hopes Messi's Ballon d'Or comments were 'not just empty words'

    Robert Lewandowski has questioned whether winner Lionel Messi was sincere with his praise towards him after beating the Bayern Munich striker to the 2021 Ballon d'Or award.

    Messi claimed the coveted accolade for a record-extending seventh time last week, with Lewandowski finishing second as he settled for the inaugural Striker of the Year award.

    Lewandowski was somewhat unfortunate to miss out to Messi, having scored 53 times in 42 games for Bayern between the start of 2021 and the award being handed out.

    That was the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues across all competitions, with Messi – who won the Copa America with Argentina – joint-fifth on the list with 32 goals.

    Poland international Lewandowski averaged a goal every 67 minutes over the same period. Among those with 10 goals or more, club-mate Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was the next-most regular scorer, netting every 84 minutes.

    Lewandowski would also have been favourite to win the award last year had it not been scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    In his acceptance speech when collecting the award, Messi said Lewandowski deserved a Ballon d'Or of his own for his exploits in 2020.

    "Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that [Lewandowski was] the big winner," Messi said. "Hopefully [France Football] give you the Ballon d'Or 2020."

    However, Lewandowski appeared unmoved by those comments from Messi and admitted to feeling upset about once again missing out on football's top individual honour.

    "I felt sadness," he told Polish channel Kanal Sportowy. "I can't deny it. I can't say I was happy – on the contrary, I have a feeling of sadness. 

    "To be so close, to compete with Messi, of course I respect how he plays and what he has achieved. The mere fact that I was able to compete with him shows me the level that I was able to reach.

    "I'm not that enthusiastic about getting the 2020 award. I would like [Messi's statement] to be a sincere and courteous statement from a great player and not just empty words."

  • Aubameyang situation 'causing a problem at Arsenal' – Neville Aubameyang situation 'causing a problem at Arsenal' – Neville

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's lack of playing time will cause problems for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, according to Gary Neville.

    The Gabon international dropped to the bench for Monday's 2-1 defeat to Everton, with Arteta instead using Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli in attack.

    Arteta turned to Eddie Nketiah from the substitutes' bench before finally introducing Aubameyang five minutes from time.

    Aubameyang missed a glorious chance shortly after Demarai Gray had fired in what proved to be a superb late winner for Everton to relieve the pressure on Rafael Benitez.

    Arsenal's out-of-form captain has now failed to score in his last six Premier League appearances, which is his longest run in the competition and his longest goalless league run since going 14 without a goal for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga between February and August 2014.

    Former Dortmund striker Aubameyang has had 15 shots across that barren spell and has failed to find the net from an expected goals (xG) return of 3.1.

    Neville does not believe Aubameyang will react well to being left on the bench for so long, with the Manchester United legend predicting a possible parting of the ways between the player and club in January.

    "I think there will be a problem with Aubameyang off the back of this game," Neville told Sky Sports. "I don't think he'll like the idea of Eddie Nketiah coming on before him. I don't think he'll like the idea of being a substitute, full stop.

    "There's always that little bit of a bug there between Arteta and Aubameyang. I know he's the captain but he leaves him out and it just feels like something that's a little bit awkward, and it's going to cause a problem.

    "I suspect, if Arteta could probably get money for Aubameyang and he could get someone else, they probably would. And I bet if Aubameyang could move on he probably would as well because it could maybe turn a little sour."

    Aubameyang failed to find the target from his two efforts against Everton and now has a big chance conversion rate of 33.33 per cent in the Premier League this season.

    That is down from 46.2 per cent last season and 63.0 the season before when registering 22 goals in 36 games, matching his tally from 2018-19.

    Arsenal, who had taken the lead against Everton through Martin Odegaard's strike before late goals from Richarlison and Gray, are seventh in the league after losing three of their last four games.

    The Gunners have named the youngest average starting line-up in the English top flight this season and Neville believes a lack of experience is costing Arteta.

    "I think when we talk about this being a young team in terms of the average age, when you go to places like Old Trafford and Goodison Park in a night game one or two of the young players won't have experienced it too many times," he said.

    "I remember my first game going to Anfield and it was tough, going to Arsenal at Highbury. You need experience to get you through those difficult moments when the crowd go up and a few decisions go against you and you can feel something happening.

    "You need comfort in there. You need that spine. Arsenal's senior players are not really massive characters. They are not really leaders. They don't get those young players through those difficult moments in the game so the other players just go under a little."

  • LeBron James defends Lakers coach Frank Vogel LeBron James defends Lakers coach Frank Vogel

    Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has defended coach Frank Vogel after an inconsistent start to the NBA season.

    The Lakers, one of the pre-season favourites for the championship, are 12-12 after Friday's defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers and sit seventh in the Western Conference.

    With a roster that boasts talent such as James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, more was expected from the 2020 champions, with coach Vogel coming in for recent criticism.

    "I think criticism comes with the job, you know?" James said after practice on Monday. "Frank is a strong-minded guy. He has a great coaching staff. And we as his players have to do a better job of going out and producing on the floor.

    "We're a team and an organization that don't mind some adversity, that don't mind people saying things about us, obviously, because it comes with the territory."

    Vogel has an overall record of 106-61 (.635) with the Lakers, the sixth-best winning percentage of any coach in their history with at least 100 games.

    James was back in the Lakers line-up for the Clippers game after returning two negative COVID-19 tests, posting 23 points and 11 rebounds in the 119-115 loss.

    The 36-year-old entered the NBA's health and safety protocols last week, sitting out the 117-92 win over the Sacramento Kings due to a positive coronavirus test, but cleared the league's COVID protocols after additional testing confirmed the four-time champion and MVP was not a positive case.

    "We have a lot of guys on this team that have been bulletin-board material for quite a long time, so it don't quite bother us," James added. "Everything that we do stays in house when it comes to our preparation and how we prepare for our next opponent and how we prepare to get better.

    "Frank doesn't care and we don't either about what people are saying."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.