Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took full responsibility for his part in Sunday's loss to the Cowboys, but he was also frank when asked after the game about the decision to go away from tight end Heath Miller, arguably the team's best receiver, in the second half.
“I just don't think we called the right plays to get him the ball," Ben said at the time.
As for why Pittsburgh didn't run more no-huddle offense in the second half, something Roethlisberger excels at, the quarterback offered this: “That's tough for me to answer right now,” he said. “The second half we didn't do much of it, and that's disappointing.”
The implication, of course, is that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Roethlisberger have different ideas about the play-calling. The dynamic between the two have been a season-long media fascination partly because Haley's known for his explosive sideline demeanor (which we have yet to see this season), but mostly because Roethlisberger and former coordinator Bruce Arians were close.
Whatever, their differences -- perceived or otherwise -- isn't an issue going forward, according to coach Mike Tomlin.
“That was a tough, hard-fought game, an emotional one, and when you come up short there‘s frustrations associated with that, natural frustrations associated with that,” Tomlin said via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I‘m sure if anything was read into his comments it was just that. I met with Ben (Monday) and he‘s ready to move forward with this week and he‘s on board with what we‘re doing.”
Tomlin also pointed out that Miller ended the game with seven catches for 92 yards, including a touchdown.
And whatever Roethlisberger may (or may not) think of Haley's offense, the reality is this: Ben's taken fewer hits this season, and until he suffered the rib injury against the Chiefs (which was a freak accident; the sack looked like your garden-variety takedown) he was putting up MVP-type numbers. Yes, there haven't been as many deep completions to Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, but the receivers are partially to blame; neither is having a good year and both have had issues holding onto the ball.
Of course, none of this matters if the Steelers beat the Bengals and Browns in the final two weeks of the season and make the playoffs. And if they don't then, well, it'll be a major storyline heading into the offseason.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.