Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws five interceptions in a loss to the Jaguars, wonders if he’s washed up
After turning in one of the worst performances of his career in a 30-9 home loss to the Jaguars on Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger (no touchdowns, five interceptions, 37.8 rating) told a media scrum, “Maybe I don't have it anymore.” Now, it's important to note that Roethlisberger seemed to be more dismissive of the idea than self-contemplative. But to take him at his word: Does the 35-year-old quarterback have a point?
Roethlisberger shocked Steelers fans two days after his 2016 season ended, when he hinted at the possibility of retiring. After reporting to training camp, he told The MMQB’s Tim Rohan, "I am definitely just going one year at a time." And now, this. He ranks No. 25 in yards per pass attempt and No. 22 in completion percentage. The Steelers, who on paper have the league's most loaded offense, are No. 19 in points per game.
Worst Case Scenario: Pittsburgh quickly falls out of Super Bowl contention and finds itself trying to navigate a Favreian purgatory—unable to plan for the future without upsetting a franchise legend, unable to win with a QB past his prime.
Best Case Scenario: Roethlisberger has been known to court drama. He knows he's better than he played on Sunday, and the two-time Super Bowl winner simply wants his inevitable return to form to be treated appropriately.
Current Case: Despite Sunday's loss, the Steelers still sit atop the AFC North. But heading into a marquee matchup against the undefeated Chiefs, the spotlight now shines brightly on the quarterback. And the questions loom large.
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1. Packers 35, Cowboys 31. Dallas and Green Bay went back and forth during a 30-point fourth quarter, but it was Aaron Rodgers who got the last laugh, finding Davante Adams in the end zone with 11 seconds left. Millions of fantasy players are now trying to pick up Aaron Jones, the Packers’ running back who tallied 125 yards and a touchdown. Run, do not walk, to the waiver wire.
2. Jaguars 30, Steelers 9. Enough about Big Ben's troubles. Let's talk about the Jags! Jacksonville now leads the league in takeaways and points scored off them (by 27 points). But Blake Bortles is still Blake Bortles; he had 95 passing yards.
3. Chiefs 42, Texans 34. Deshaun Watson bolstered his stats as Houston scored three times in the fourth quarter, but Kansas City was in control on the road. The Texans also lost J.J. Watt with a tibial plateau fracture in his left knee; his season is reportedly over.
4. Panthers 27, Lions 24. After back-to-back road wins at New England and Detroit, Carolina deserves to re-enter the contender conversation. Cam Newton displayed MVP form, finishing with three touchdowns and 355 yards, while the defense is now third in yards allowed per game (274.0).
5. Chargers 27, Giants 22. This battle of winless teams started with four punts and a safety. It ended with an Eli Manning interception after Los Angeles scored the go-ahead touchdown off a Manning fumble. On the play before that fumble, Odell Beckham Jr. broke his ankle. Hard to imagine things getting worse for New York, but then again, there are 12 weeks to go.
6. Seahawks 16, Rams 10. A missed field goal by Los Angeles in the third quarter altered this one. The Rams ultimately came up just short of a statement home win when Cooper Kupp failed to corral a pass in the end zone on the second-to-last play after Jared Goff marched the offense into scoring range.
7. Ravens 30, Raiders 17. Oakland cut the deficit to seven late in the third quarter, but EJ Manuel & Co. couldn't get closer while Joe Flacco completed 73% of his passes. At the moment, these are two teams going in opposite directions.
8. Colts 26, 49ers 23. Indianapolis's first overtime drive ended with a Jacoby Brissett interception, but San Francisco couldn't do anything with the ball, and the Colts kicked a game-winning field goal on their next drive. Rookie running back Marlon Mack emerged as a weapon for Indy, finishing with 91 yards, including a 35-yarder on the final drive.
9. Eagles 34, Cardinals 7. Philadelphia handled its business at home. Carson Wentz continued a strong sophomore season with four touchdowns to four receivers.
10. Dolphins 16, Titans 10. Jay Cutler struggled (12 for 26, for 92 yards), but he was good enough to get the win over Tennessee backup Matt Cassel.
11. Bengals 20, Bills 16. Tyrod Taylor threw a costly interception on Buffalo's final drive in Cincinnati; the Bengals’ defense held its visitors to 221 yards.
12. Jets 17, Browns 14. New York led by double digits until Cleveland got a late touchdown. Next Sunday, in the Meadowlands, the surprisingly 3-2 Patriots take on the surprisingly 3-2 Jets. (Browns fans looking for hope: Myles Garrett had two sacks in his debut).
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The Los Angeles Chargers got their first win Sunday since 1960 when they beat . . . New York.