“Maybe I don’t have it anymore” uttered Ben Roethlisberger after a 30-9 beating at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars in October, dropping the Pittsburgh Steelers to 3-2.
Roethlisberger had just thrown five interceptions and looked bad. The offense was anemic, and there were several questions about how good this team really was.
Since that time the Steelers have gone 10-1, Roethlisberger has been on fire and the offense has exploded to elite levels, as was expected from the get go. This was the rematch hat the offense wanted and it wasn’t much of a secret. Roethlisberger said as much in his weekly radio show during the bye week. He wants revenge and I expect him to make the Jags pay.
The Jaguars were trash talking Roethlisberger after their first matchup, saying he was flustered and confused, they spoke of him as a rookie, new to the league rather than the Hall of Famer quarterback that he truly is. They didn’t show any respect for the Steeler legend and you best believe, he heard every word.
He was upset enough with himself for his lackluster performance but I’m certain the Jags taunts will come back to haunt them this week. Since that time, Ben has been arguably the best quarterback in football, specifically in the second half of the season. His desire to grab one more ring before he retires is strong. His will to prove the Jaguars can’t contain him twice in the same season is high and his pedigree for winning big games in the playoffs can’t be underestimated.
You can bet he’s watched the film of the game in October. You can bet he watched the Jaguars narrowly escape the Bills this past Sunday. He knows the Jaguars have a stellar defense, but he also knows the weapons he has.
I expect a heavy dose of Le’Veon Bell and with the return of Antonio Brown, I expect some big plays down the field. If the Jaguars focus on Bell, Ben will be ready to strike. JuJu Smith-Schuster has emerged since the last time these foes met. Vance McDonald is a viable weapon for Ben too. Even Martavis Bryant has his head on straight now.
Ben will lead this team to victory through shear will and motivation let alone the fact that he has since proven he’s still an elite quarterback in this league and the Jags shouldn’t have said otherwise.
It may be a close game come Sunday afternoon, but I assure you this, Ben Roethlisberger will be ready and it will show.