|Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger watched too many games from the sideline in 2012. (USATSI)|
The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled through an injury-ravaged season in 2012, going just 8-8 without the likes of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Rashard Mendenhall, and safety Troy Polamalu for long stretches of the season. Had the Steelers gotten a stroke of luck, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said Tuesday, they -- not the Baltimore Ravens -- could have been hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl XLVII.
“Do I feel we could have done the same thing they did? I do. I do,” LeBeau told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It didn't break that way.”
LeBeau may not be that far off. The Steelers were the best in the NFL in terms of fewest yards allowed for the second consecutive season, but offensive woes -- mostly due to Roethlisberger's absence -- plagued them. Pittsburgh finished in the bottom third of the league in scoring offense, a stat LeBeau attributes to quarterback play.
“Can I say with a certain amount of credence we can compete with Baltimore day-in and day-out? I know it and I can say it,” LeBeau told the paper. “We didn't have Ben in either one of those games. I know we're a better team with Ben because he's a great player, and that's not a knock on Charlie or Byron. Ben's our No. 1 quarterback, and we didn't have him.
“They got the right people back at the right time, and we continued to have more injuries, it seemed like. Many times that decides it.”
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