Has Ben Roethlisberger’s late game magic run out? Maybe not, but he sure hasn’t displayed any the last two weeks.
"We did things to give us a chance to win the game, but I blew it," Roethlisberger said.
Pittsburgh did a lot of things well on the defensive side of the ball, including forcing three turnovers. But it wasn’t enough.
Roethlisberger threw two terrible interceptions that resulted in 10 of the Bengals’ 13 points.
The first came in the first quarter when Roethlisberger tried to hit Heath Miller over the middle of the field and was picked off by Leon Hall, who promptly returned it 17 yards for a touchdown. It was the Bengals only touchdown of the day.
Roethlisberger put a lot of mustard on the pass, but the problem was that Hall was waiting for it and cleanly made the play. It was just a terrible read.
As damaging as the first was, the second was even worse.
With two timeouts and a chance to drive the ball into field goal range, the Steelers seemed to be in business.
On the first play of the drive, Roethlisberger hit Isaac Redman for a 13-yard gain and the Steelers picked up another five yards after a delay of game penalty on the Bengals.
Following an incomplete pass, Roethlisberger was looking to make a big play but instead threw the game away.
Roethlisberger scrambled to the right and was looking to connect with a wide-open Mike Wallace but instead, never set his feet and threw the ball over Wallace’s head and right into the arms of Reggie Nelson. This was a pass you’d expect from a rookie quarterback, not from one who is supposed to be one of the best in the league.
The interception would set the Bengals up for the game-winning field goal and the final playoff spot in the AFC.
Beyond the interceptions, Roethlisberger was just off of his game.
Since coming back from injury, Roethlisberger has lost three straight games and hasn’t completed better than 60 percent of his passes. Sunday was no exception.
Roethlisberger completed only 50 percent of his passes for one touchdown and two interceptions. He had problems with several under-thrown passes, as well as a couple that were just out of reach of his receivers.
While he spent much of the day running from the Bengals’ pass rush, Roethlisberger did not take advantage of the defense when he did have time to throw.
The Steelers needed much more from their franchise quarterback given all of the injury problems that they have had this year, but instead, he was one of the main reasons they are out of the playoffs.