Ben: 'It starts with me'

The Steelers got off to a slow start last week against the Bengals, heading into halftime already down 17-0, a deficit they couldn't dig out of.

It wasn't the first time they have found themselves struggling early on in games, something Ben Roethlisberger knows needs to get fixed, and fixed now.

"It feels like it's something different every week," said Roethlisberger. "It's hard to really nail down one thing, but it's something that's very important to us and we need to get fixed now."

How do they fix it, that is the question with just two games remaining in the regular season and the postseason on the horizon.

"We all need to perform better, and it starts with me," said Roethlisberger. "I have to complete passes, if that's the call. If it's run, then we have to get hats on hats, if you will. Once again, you guys are asking questions that if I had an answer to it, we wouldn't be having these issues. We can't fix anything until we get out there on Sunday really."

One thing Roethlisberger has been consistent with all season is pointing to himself to improve, whether the team was 11-0 or 11-3. He has taken his share of heat from outside the team walls, but he doesn't shy away from admitting some of it is deserved.

"I don't blame them," said Roethlisberger. "When you play like poo, you should get talked about like that. I need to play better. If I'm not giving them a reason to talk good, then I'm giving them a reason to talk badly. That's all on me. I need to play better.

"When you're not winning, truthfully, at the end of the day, that's my determining factor of if I played well or not. Did I win the football game? Because that's all that matters to me. Am I not completing enough passes? Am I missing the right play call? There's a myriad of issues, in my opinion, that aren't helping us win the game. It can be something different all the time. I just have to play well enough to help us win a football game because, at the end of the day, that's all that really matters."

Roethlisberger said on Wednesday the players gathered for a meeting, mainly just offensive players, just to talk and 'express where we are and what we need to do moving forward.' He stressed it wasn't a panic meeting after losing the last three games, but just a normal meeting they hold this time of year when they know the playoffs are approaching.

"It had nothing to do with where we are in terms of losing three," said Roethlisberger. "I feel it's that time of year when it's prudent to have those kind of meetings where veteran guys can speak and talk to young guys on what to expect and get ready for moving forward.

"I'm sure that this whole thing now is going to blow up…'Steelers Had Players Only Meeting.' That's why I try to emphasize and this will never get written. It had nothing to do with the losses. It had everything to do with where we are and where we are going.

"We're getting ready to go into the playoffs. I had the guys raise their hands of who has played in a playoff game and who hasn't. It was over half the guys that haven't played in a playoff game. It's important the veteran guys, the guys that have, communicate what it's like. I hate to throw them out like that, but we used Coach Mike Munchak as an example, a guy that spent 30-plus years in the NFL playing and coaching and was only a part of one Super Bowl. I just wanted guys to understand and to reiterate how important this time of year is.

"Playoffs aren't guaranteed to anybody. It wasn't a players-only panic meeting. Make sure that people keep writing that. This is a meeting that we felt was necessary moving forward into the postseason."

Take a look at the best black and white photos from the Steelers' Week 15 game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium

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