Ben: 'I need to be my best'

Ben Roethlisberger knows what his receivers are capable of. He knows what they bring to the table, the talent they have individually and as a unit.

But the last few weeks the receivers were plagued by dropped passes, including some passes that were right on the money.

Roethlisberger was asked if he needed to have a talk with them, find out what is causing the problem. He brushed that off and put the blame for the drops squarely on his own shoulders.

"I think I just need to give them more catchable balls, put them into a position to catch balls where they're not going to get hit," said Roethlisberger. "I am not going to worry too much about pulling them aside and having a heart to heart that you need to catch a ball. I need to give them balls that are more catchable. I need to be my best so they can be their best. When they are at their best, we are pretty good."

During his weekly press conference, Coach Mike Tomlin didn't appear to have much patience for the drops and stated anyone who can't hold on to the ball won't see the ball come their way.

"They can catch the ball, or they can get replaced by someone who will catch it," said Tomlin. "It's just as simple as that. Like I've often said, I expect guys to make routine plays, routinely. When there is a pattern of that not happening, we have to look at who we are throwing the ball to.

"The coaching of catching the football to those who are employed to do it at this level is not something I have a lot of patience for. It's not something any of us have a lot of patience for. Those guys job is to catch the football, particularly the routine ones. Where there's a pattern you should expect to see less opportunities. That is just fair. That is just part of what this business and our game is about."

The dropped passes aren't the only area where the team has had some offensive struggles the past few weeks. The run game also has stalled somewhat, with only 21 yards on the ground in the loss to Washington and 68 yards against Baltimore.

"Hopefully we can get it fixed," said Roethlisberger. "Obviously if we had the answers, we would have it fixed by now. We believe in our guys. We believe in the guys up front, the backs. It's on me. It's RPO. I throw it instead of hand it off. Maybe I should have handed it off.

"We all need to get better but it's more than just the run game. We need to get better as a group. That fluidity comes with staying on the field and converting third downs."

The bottom line is, they will have to get better fast. The Steelers have a huge challenge on their hands full on Sunday night against the Buffalo Bills, who are 9-3 and coming off a 34-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. 

"They're a really good football team," said Roethlisberger. "They are playing with a lot of confidence. They have an MVP caliber quarterback playing at that level. They have some defenders who are taking the ball away every time the ball is thrown their way. They're just a really good football team. I think confidence has a lot to do with that.

"This is a very, very good football team. We are going to their place. Looks like crappy weather. Night game. Cold. All of the perfect elements that comes with playing playoff caliber football teams and playoff caliber situations this time of the year. This is a great test and challenge for us."

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