While the champion Steelers fell to an unimpressive 0-3 in the preseason, the biggest thing to come out of Friday nights game is that QB Ben Roethlisberger continues to look good, despite being near death just over two months ago. “I like his mind-set. I like the way he’s operating the offense.” Bill Cowher said after the game. “I just like where he’s at, not just in games, but I watch it in practice, as well.” Big Ben did not produce a TD drive on Friday, unlike last week against the Vikings, but did look good in going 9 of 14 for 52 yards. In the 3 preseason games, he has gone a total of 15 for 22, 111 yards, a TD and an inteception. While the numbers are not staggering by any means, the Steelers are in a very good place knowing that Big Ben appears confident, calm and ready to lead the Steelers offense.
If Pittsburgh is going to make any sort of serious run at another Super Bowl, it will likely be on the shoulders of Roethlisberger, who they are counting on having command of the offense and the huddle in his third season. The MNF crew last night stated several times in talking to Ben that he said that the accident, while unfortunate, refocused him and that he feels closer to the game now and that things maybe in his mind were getting to easy after the Steelers won the Bowl last season. Now, with a refocused Big Ben, a running back in Willie Parker who looked fast and ready to go last night, and a defense that returns all but one starter, the Steelers are easily one of the top three in the AFC.
This does not mean that the road is going to be easy, as if the Steelers think that the Colts, Pats, Broncos, Chiefs, Bengals and others are simply going to lie down and let them win the AFC, they have another thing coming. But, in what will likely be Cowher’s last season as coach, the Steelers seem in better hands with Big Ben now more than ever. And NO ONE would have thought that just over two months ago.