Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Los Angeles Chargers, but it was a loss that came with reason for optimism. Ben Roethlisberger didn't look like the Big Ben of old, but he looked competent while throwing for 276 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. That's all the Steelers need from their QB to have a shot to win every week-- competency. A run-first, defense-oriented team only works if the player under center can complete the easy passes and not turn the ball over. For most of the season, Roethlisberger couldn't do that, but he did last week.
Week 12 brought a visit to Cincinnati and a crucial divisional matchup with the Bengals. If Pittsburgh could leave victorious, they'd have a legit shot at the AFC North title and would stay in the wild card race. Unfortunately, Roethlisberger reverted back to the quarterback we've seen for most of the year. It was ugly and makes one wonder how long he'll last back there.
Roethlisberger completed less than half of his passes, threw two interceptions, and got sacked three times. He managed a touchdown in garbage time to pad the stats, but make no mistake: it was terrible. Every fatal mistake he made looked to be the product of an aging quarterback who can't process the game quick enough and doesn't have the arm strength to compensate. It led to an embarrassing defeat at the hands of a rival, and the Steelers will enter Week 13 at .500 and a long shot to make the playoffs.
Just look at this, man. How much longer are the Steelers going to make Roethlisberger stand back there and embarrass himself?
He very obviously just doesn't have it anymore. Whatever you want to define "it" as, Big Ben is lacking. He doesn't have the arm strength to make the short or long throws. He's going down as soon as the pocket starts to bend, much less collapse. Roethlisberger is a geriatric in the pocket with a noodle arm. That doesn't win games.
The Steelers do not have any better options, which is entirely a consequence of their own inaction to foresee this very likely reality coming to fruition. But losing this badly to a divisonal foe in what is essentially a must-win game... I don't know. It's difficult to understand what they have to gain by throwing Big Ben out there, week after week.
Roethlisberger is washed. This isn't news to anyone. But this game, with these circumstances, was the worst performance yet. Pittsburgh needs to bench their franchise quarterback, both for the betterment of the team and the people stuck watching them every week.