It's not the first time he has said it this season, and it's not going to be the last.
Ben Roethlisberger's focus is simple.
He just wants to win.
Roethlisberger's evaluation of his own play on a weekly basis has been very critical. He has been tougher on himself than anyone else on the team has been. But he is off to a strong start with 10 touchdown passes through four games and just one interception. You won't hear him talking about that though, instead talking about the ones he missed.
"I am just glad we are winning football games," said Roethlisberger. "You know me, it's not about stats, it's not about numbers, it's about winning football games. Coming back from an injury, not playing last year, I was a little worried about my play and what was going to happen. I think I told you guys that before the first game, that my biggest concern was letting the team down and losing the game for them. I am just glad we are winning football games."
Coach Mike Tomlin seemed pleased with Roethlisberger's play when he spoke on Tuesday afternoon, but understands where his thought process is coming from.
"I think he is very mentally sharp," said Tomlin. "I think sometimes when you have the perspective he has now, he watched the bulk of football in 2019. Oftentimes when you get removed from your role and you get to watch it from a different perspective you might change your perspective on performance and evaluation thereof.
"I am not displeased in the overall trajectory of his play. I like the fact that he is being critical of his performance. I also like where he is from a mental standpoint right now. We're just going to continue to work and knock the rust off and gain the rhythm that we are accustomed to seeing from him. And hopefully we better continue to win while we do that."
Roethlisberger also mentioned the mental aspect of the game when he spoke on Wednesday morning.
"Sometimes when you get to this age, in life and in football, you have to find ways to win the game mentally as well," said Roethlisberger. "That is what I am trying to do."
Roethlisberger said one area of his game he is really trying to work on this year is not turning the ball over, with just one interception. He will be challenged this week going against the Cleveland Browns, who have an NFL high 12 takeaways so far this season, including six interceptions.
"I am just trying not to turn the ball over," said Roethlisberger. "Obviously not putting up big passing numbers, yards per attempt, all of those things. For me I just don't want to turn the ball over. That is the biggest thing I am trying to work on. That is going to be the biggest thing this week because I think this team leads the league in turnovers."
He also wants to try and connect better on his deep passes, something he isn't hesitating to attempt, but something that hasn't gotten to the point where he is pleased yet.
"I am not shying away from throwing it, I just want to connect on it a little more," said Roethlisberger. "I want to connect on every pass I throw, short or long. Just because I am overthrowing a little bit. I went back and looked, there were a couple of PIs, that's a guy getting held a little bit, that can lead to an overthrow. Like I have said before, as long as I am overthrowing and not underthrowing, that is the okay miss."
More from Ben:
On the Steelers-Browns rivalry:
"They're a good football team. This is AFC North football, and you can say what you want about past records and times played, but those are previous years. This is a new football team, new coaching staff, but they obviously have a new staff. We're a new team. They're a new team. They're a good football team, really good. They've got a really good defense. A lot of those guys—I looked at their roster today, they only have two guys that have 10 years of experience in the league. It's not like these guys have been playing us for years and years and years and worrying about how many times the Steelers have won. That's not what it's about. It's a new season, new teams, and they're a really good football team."
On the unselfish receivers:
"It's interesting. When I came into the locker room after this last week, I wasn't sure what the demeanorwas going to be from the other receivers, to be perfectly honest, because obviouslyChase [Claypool] had an amazing day. I looked over at JuJu [Smith-Schuster] to kind of see his reaction because he is our No. 1receiver. I looked over at him,and he had the biggest smile on his face. He was, and it's not because Chase was right there with him. Chase wasn't even next to him. He had the biggest smile, he was having fun with other guys. I just can't say enough about him and what that meant to me and what that meant to other guys and how proud we are of him that he truly was happy for Chase. He was happy that we won the game. Did he have huge stats? No. But we wont the game and that's all that matters. I think for a No. 1 receiver to feel that way in the locker, I told my wife about it, I told my closest friends about it. That just made me really proud and happy that we have selfless guys on this team that are more about the win than they are trying to get their stats. I can't say enough about JuJu and what that meant after the game."