Ben Roethlisberger on Steelers' loss: 'I blew it'

  • By Marc Sessler
  • Updated: Dec. 24, 2012 at 11:54 a.m.

This is an unusual spot for the Steelers, a perennial playoff team set to watch the postseason from home after Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals eliminated Pittsburgh from contention.

After the game, ESPN's Josina Anderson observed a changed Mike Tomlin as the coach stood back from it all and watched over the locker room "in quiet, while absorbing the finality of the situation."

"We did things to give us a chance to win the game, but I blew it," Ben Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Steelers quarterback has fished his team out of tight corners for years, but Roethlisberger's interception with 14 seconds remaining against the Bengals killed any chance Pittsburgh had of squeaking out the win on Sunday. It was the second week in a row Big Ben sunk Pittsburgh with a late pick, but the Steelers seemed headed toward collapse long before December.

"We have to do a better job as players playing the game, individually and collectively," James Harrison told the newspaper. "We have to do a better job as coaches, coaching the game, and putting our players in positions to make plays. We have to do a better job as players of playing, and a better job as coaches of coaching."

The Steelers remain a tough team defensively, as well-coached as any unit in the NFL, but there was a tonal shift this season. After beating up on teams in their own division for years, Pittsburgh was knocked around by the Bengals and Cleveland Browns this season, and split with the Ravens. The Steelers were sloppier than we've seen in years, the injuries never ceased, and the star quarterback struggled in big moments.

It means the Steelers will be home for the holidays this year, with plenty to think about.