Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers' fast start to the 2020 season was temporarily grounded to a halt when the NFL decided to postpone Pittsburgh's Week 4 contest against the Titans due to Tennessee's COVID-19 outbreak. The Steelers are now slated to face the Titans in Week 7 and, as of now, will have to play 13 consecutive regular season games after losing their Week 8 bye.
Roethlisberger did not mince words when asked whether or not the NFL will consider making the Titans possibly forfeit the game following images surfacing of several Titans players working out together last week after the team was forced to close its facility. Big Ben was also asked if he feels his team "got the short end of the stick" after having their schedule altered despite Pittsburgh not having any positive cases since the start of the regular season.
"I don't think they'll consider forfeiting our game," Roethlisberger said. "And of course, we got the short end of the stick."
Roethlisberger, who missed most of the 2019 season after undergoing elbow surgery, feels that he was just starting to get into a rhythm after helping lead Pittsburgh to a 3-0 start. He alluded to the challenges of regaining that rhythm when asked how he will keep the Steelers' offense in sync after not playing a game last Sunday.
"The league already tried to slow [the Steelers' roll] down, so I guess I'm going to start back over from scratch and hope this week I didn't take too many steps backwards," Roethlisberger said. "I'll just see how it goes this week, I guess."
While Pittsburgh has scored at least 26 points in each of its first three games, the Steelers' offense appeared make a jump during the Week 3 win over the Texans. James Conner led a Steelers ground attack that gained 169 yards, while Roethlisberger completed passes to seven different players that included his first touchdown pass to tight end Eric Ebron, who signed with the Steelers during the offseason. Roethlisberger also threw a touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster, as Pittsburgh overcame a 14-3 deficit to defeat the Texans, 28-21.
"It's tough, especially for someone like myself who was just starting to get back in the flow of things," Roethlisberger said when asked about re-gaining his rhythm after taking a week off. "It's not easy, but you've got to adjust, you've got to adapt the best you can."
While Roethlisbeger may be worried about his team's chemistry, Smith-Schuster believes that the Steelers' rhythm "is still there" heading into Sunday's home game against the Eagles. Smith-Schuster is not, however, worried about the Titans and what the NFL may or may not do as it relates to handling their ongoing situation.
"That is the Titans business and NFL stuff," Smith-Schuster said, via Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. "What we talk about is what Coach (Mike) Tomlin brings to us that the NFL is doing. At the end of the day you want everyone to be safe and follow the protocols and get these games going."
Despite not having a game, Roethlisberger, who has seven TDs and one interception through three games, was anything but inactive during Pittsburgh's unexpected Sunday off.
"I throw every single day, because my son won't let a day go by without playing catch," Roethlisberger said.