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Old 10-09-2006, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default MSNBC: Big Ben's breakdowns costing Steelers

Big Ben's breakdowns costing Steelers
Once a nearly mistake-free QB, Roethlisberger needs to tighten his game
By Bill Williamson
MSNBC contributor

Ben Roethlisberger has never been a great NFL quarterback.

He has been a winning quarterback, but Big Ben has never been dominant since bursting on the scene as a rookie in 2004. So we can?t be overwhelmed by his personal struggles. The guy has flaws.

But what has to be so disconcerting to the Pittsburgh Steelers is they are 1-3. That is very unlike Roethlisberger like. Despite his limitations, Big Ben won.

That was his thing.

His thing, though, is broken.

Roethlisberger?s flaws are costing his team. That?s scary for the Steelers.

The whole deal about Roethlisberger was that he never hurt his team. He always made smart decisions. He managed the game well for coach Bill Cowher and let the running game and the Steelers? nasty defense take over.

Now, though, Roethlisberger isn?t allowing the Steelers? trademarks to win games. He isn?t giving the rest of the team chance.

Why? Is it the motorcycle accident? It is the emergency surgery on the eve of the season?

Probably not. Sure, those circumstances aren?t in the playbook on how to be an effective NFL quarterback. But Roethlisberger?s current issues have more to do with him than his off-field medical issues.

Remember, this is a guy who wasn?t any good in the Super Bowl. The Steelers won despite his performance. In the past four games, the Super Bowl included, Roethlisberger has thrown zero touchdown passes and has been intercepted nine times.

After the Super Bowl, there was concern that Roethlisberger?s career could stall because he may think that he didn?t have to improve. After two seasons in the NFL, the thought was that Roethlisberger may think that the NFL thing was easy.

A month into the 2006 season, perhaps those thoughts were right on the money.

Roethlisberger can?t look at his Super Bowl ring. He has to look at the game film. The ring may say he doesn?t need to improve. But the film shows that he is not very good right now.

Big Ben?s career is not officially in the dumper. But the guy needs to improve. He needs to realize that. If not, the Steelers will continue to lose because of him.
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