PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) - Following the team's 42-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in a crucial AFC North divisional matchup, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joined "The Cook and Poni Show" for his weekly "Ben Roethlisberger Show."
Roethlisberger talked about the importance of the victory and the key role wide receiver Antonio Brown played in it catching 9 passes for 117 yards. Ben also talked about how much improvising goes into Brown's game and why that makes him a special player and the chemistry the two of them have developed.
"We were joking, we call him Captain Improvise," Roethlisberger said. "His unbelievable awareness of football knowledge. He's a guy that he's going to be the first pick taken when you're playing backyard football because he understands the game. You have to understand the game of football, and that's what he does as well as anybody I've ever played with. He'll run his route and then he'll see if the ball's not out on time, he'll improvise, he'll move, he'll spin, he'll break back out. It's not always easy for me because I have to sometimes adjust my throws and I've missed him on times when he's been open, but if you get the ball in his hands, special things happen."
Another wide receiver stepped up in a big way for the Steelers as rookie Martavis Bryant put the game out of reach for the Bengals with a 94-yard touchdown. Ben elaborated on what made that play happen.
"That was a pretty good play by him," Ben said. "We had the play called in the huddle, it came in as that pass play and a run check and we were going to run it according to a look that we got. They gave us the run look, but I just didn't quite believe the one safety, it looked like he was about to come down into the box, take away the run. I kind of took a chance and a gamble that he was, whether I saw something or thought I saw something, on the snap of the ball he came down and we sent Martavis in motion, It's hard to press a guy when he goes in motion. When he gets a free run at somebody, it's going to be hard to slow him down because he gets those legs moving and he's flying and my job was just to throw it as far as I could, let him run under it and he did the rest of the work."
A week after saying he hoped the team didn't run running back Le'Veon Bell into the ground, Roethlisberger talked about the 26 carries for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns along with the 6 catches for another 50 yards and a touchdown that the team's star running back put up and how he's built for these types of performances.
"I think that he's the one who knows how his body is, but if you just know his work ethic and the time and the effort that he puts into his body, his conditioning, his strength, and I know he wants it, he wants the ball, he wants to be a guy that carries a heavy workload because he wants to be great and he's easily on his way to that. He's built for speed, he's also built for this kind of late weather push. We always talked about The Bus and putting the bus tires on in late November, December, January football. I think [Bell] is made for that too."
Roethlisberger was quick to give credit to his offensive line for the big time rushing attack against the Bengals.
"Always proud of the way those guys play," Roethlisberger said. "Those guys, they can do it all. When they do as well as they do in the run game and open it up, I know Bell loves those guys because they open some pretty nice holes for him and when they keep me clean, we feel that we can be a really good offense."
Roethlisberger himself is having an outstanding year throwing for 4,055 yards and 29 touchdowns and talked about the key to all of it.
"Another year in this offense it's a better understanding," Ben said. "Coach Haley and I working well together, Bruce [Gradkowski] and Landry [Jones] and Coach Randy [Fichtner], I just think it's all of us. And I think the line. When the line plays as good as they've been playing, it makes my job so much easier. And I'm blessed with a lot of great weapons around me. My job is only so hard when I've got all those guys around me."
Having such a great statistical year, Ben was asked which stat, outside of wins, means the most to him.
"Probably touchdown passes to different guys," Ben said. "To me, I want Antonio Brown to be the number one receiver in the league, I want Le'Veon Bell to be the number one guy yards from scrimmage both passing and rushing and I love when I open the program on Sundays at home and they talk about how close Heath Miller is to breaking so-and-so's touchdown record or yardage record. Those mean a lot to me that those guys can connect and get those things and Antonio's got a chance to break single season records and things like that. To me, when those guys get records, that's fun for me."
The main goal Roethlisberger listed for himself though was a team goal.
"I don't always share a lot of my individual goals, I know people know I want to win five Super Bowls, but one of my other goals that I know I've shared with people is that I never wanted to have a losing season and now that we've got our eighth win, it guarantees we won't have a losing season for 11 years in a row now and to me, that does mean a lot. I think that's significant."
With the season winding down and the AFC North still up for grabs, Roethlisberger talked about how closely he follows what the other teams in the division are doing.
"I follow our division just like the rest of the league," Ben said. "I look at it briefly, see what's going on, but I made that statement to us a couple of weeks ago and I made it to the offense and the team that we can't sit there and get caught up in who's winning and who's losing in our division because we can control our own destiny. So, why worry about if they lose or they win? Let's just go take care of our business. Obviously, I know what's going on because you're a student of the game and you understand things, but for me, it's such a small, small thought in my mind about what's going on because really I have to put all my focus and attention on us and what we have to do. I can't worry about if [Brian] Hoyer or [Johnny] Manziel's going to start this week because really it doesn't matter unless we win."
Click the audio link below to hear more from Ben in his weekly show.
You can hear Ben Roethlisberger every Tuesday throughout the football season as he joins the "Cook and Poni Show" for "The Ben Roethlisberger Show" at 11 a.m.
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