Ben: I gotta make plays

HOUSTON _ Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger limped out of Reliant Stadium, literally and figuratively, after absorbing a pounding from the Texans.

It remains to be seen if Roethlisberger will be able to limp onto Heinz Field's playing surface this coming Sunday against Tennessee.

He had a walking boot applied to his left foot prior to meeting the media following the 17-10 loss suffered by the Steelers last Sunday. And he needed crutches to navigate the aisle upon boarding the team plane for the charter flight back to Pittsburgh.

Further souring his mood was the sting of "disappointment, obviously, from losing the game," and "feeling like I could have done more.

"It was a little bit my fault that we didn't play better," Roethlisberger concluded.

His first pass, which wasn't thrown until 3:10 remained in the first quarter, went for 22 yards to wide receiver Mike Wallace, but 15 of those came back after Wallace was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Roethlisberger's last attempt, a desperation heave for wide receiver Antonio Brown with 19 seconds remaining, was intercepted by Texans cornerback Jason Allen at the Houston 11-yard line.

In between Roethlisberger was sacked five times, hurried a bunch of others, fallen upon late to produce his unspecified left foot injury, and spared the indignity of a sick-strip-fumble and a pick-six due to penalties assessed against the Texans that nullified both of those would-be turnovers.

Overall, Roethlisberger barely completed 50 percent of his passes (16-for-30) and emerged with a passer rating of 61.3.

It all boiled down to "just making plays, plays I didn't make, plays I could have made," Roethlisberger said. "We had a group of linemen, offensive guys who we were plugging around all over the place. I gotta step up and make plays, and I didn't do it today.

"I gotta make plays, gotta make it easier on my guys and I didn't do that."

With Trai Essex replacing Jonathan Scott (ankle) at left tackle and Ramon Foster filling in for Doug Legursky (shoulder) at right guard the offense managed 296 total net yards and held the ball for 28:17.

Roethlisberger couldn't say whether he would have to be replaced when Tennessee comes calling.

"You know me, if I can be out there I'm going to be out there," he said. "If I have to cast it up – we saw I had to do that last year – if we have to do it I'll do it."

Roethlisberger said he thought the injury occurred on the Steelers' second-to-last offensive possession when he was tackled from behind. The Texans had ample opportunities prior to that to inflict damage.

"They were very physical," Roethlisberger said. "They got after me."

As for the Steelers at 2-2, "I feel like we're close," Roethlisberger said. "I guess if there's a time to be not quite right it's now. It's the first month of the season.

"We've been down this road enough times that we know it's about when you get hot. If we can pull together, offense, defense, special teams, and get hot at the right time that's all that matters."

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