There has not been a moment in my life where Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers have not been Championship contenders. After the Steelers' 24-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals to drop to 1-2 on the season, one thing became clear, Roethlisberger is not good enough to play on a championship-level team.
Despite Big Ben's abysmal performance Sunday, there's almost no chance the Steelers bench their franchise legend, even if it is in the best interest of the franchise. That, of course, is the Steelers front office's fault after failing to find a legitimate backup QB even though they knew Roethlisberger's end was in sight.
Affectionately referred to as "Big Brees" now that he's the latest future Hall of Famer to watch his once-great career come crashing down — like Drew Brees did with the Saints — Big Ben should save the Steelers the trouble of benching him and call it quits. Today.
Is Time Up on Big Ben?
This should answer the question:
While Roethlisberger is still the big-bodied quarterback who can shrug off hits, his body has started to fail him just as Peyton Manning's did.
Behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league, Ben is getting bullied, beaten up and humiliated on every play.
His quarterbacking has become a running joke on Twitter as a new entry of his embarrassing play is released to the masses like an episode of "Ted Lasso" every week.
Sure, it doesn't help that there's almost no running game whatsoever, but that's because there's no threat of a passing attack.
Roethlisberger's arm strength and touch are shot. He aimlessly flings balls downfield hoping that Chase Claypool will make an acrobatic catch on another hospital ball. He's also become the latest version of Eli Manning: afraid of the pass rush.
It was crystal clear Sunday that Roethlisberger wanted nothing to do with the Bengals' unexpectedly fierce pass rush. Najee Harris was targeted 19 (!) times Sunday and it's because Roethlisberger's aversion to getting hit.
Here's an example of taking the check down almost immediately on fourth and 10.
elite decision making by big ben 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/egQNTFW1o8— alex (@highlghtheaven) September 26, 2021
It's hard to watch a once-great player become a shell of himself, even if it's someone as loathsome as Big Ben.
But the content sure is great.
Guys like this could never play in today’s league pic.twitter.com/kuFu2PU520— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) September 27, 2021
Week 3 isn't even over yet, though. There's still plenty of time for this to get much, much worse.
Dark Days Ahead
The Steelers just can't win with this game plan. Even with this defense, that is missing T.J. Watt, they cannot make up for a non-existent offense. If the Steelers go on a run and play meaningful football, what gives the team any hope of outscoring the Chiefs, Ravens, Bills, or Browns? While they beat the Bills in Week 1, the Steelers certainly can't rely on Josh Allen to play that poorly.
In the loss to the Bengals, Roethlisberger attempted 55 passes and averaged 5.48 yards per attempt, which again highlights his lack of arm strength, risk aversion and lack of any downfield threat.
As the season grows older, Big Ben's arm strength and touch will only get worse. The Steelers front office should sit down with Roethlisberger and convince him to retire before he ruins his legacy any further.
Roethlisberger, of course, has all of the leverage because Pittsburgh won't bench him until it gets worse, but they should try to convince him that his legacy is on the line.
The Time Has Come
Last year's Wild Card game against the Browns should have been the end of the line for Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.
This team has no chance at competing this season, no matter who is at quarterback. Why not give Dwayne Haskins or Mason Rudolph another shot? The absolute worst thing that can happen is you get a high draft pick and a chance at drafting Roethlisberger's replacement.
Hell, I would even give Cam Newton a look rather than watch the corpse of Roethlisberger stumble over nothing every time he drops back to pass. No matter what happens this season for the Steelers, the outcome is not going to be pretty. Is this how Roethlisberger wants to wrap up a Hall-of-Fame career? I know I wouldn't.
Photo: Getty Images