Oct. 12-- Ben Roethlisberger boldly declared Tuesday that he is still one of the best quarterbacks in the world. He said he doesn't know his statistics, then rattled off how many Super Bowl wins he has and that he has won hundreds of football games.
Then he sniped at the media and claimed he doesn't pay attention to what is said or written about him. He said the critics on the outside amount to a whole lot of noise and the players in the locker room know who they are as a team.
Earlier this week, Le'Veon Bell questioned the Steelers' game plan and said they should have run the ball more against Jacksonville. He, of course, is the primary running back, so that was mostly a self-serving declaration.
Mike Tomlin spent some of his weekly meet-and-greet with the media Tuesday explaining that these issues are talked about by the media more than anyone else. He said there are no issues in the locker room, and all of these things that seem to follow the team each week are basically media creations. Tomlin suggests this amounts to a lack of respect for their accomplishments and the fact that they have won a lot of games in recent history.
Here's a novel idea for the Steelers if they want to silence their "critics"-stop whining, shut up and beat Kansas City. The Chiefs are 5-0 and the best team in the NFL. They beat New England already and are coming off a blowout of Houston and its star rookie quarterback.
The Steelers beat the Chiefs on their field in the playoffs last year to clinch a spot in the AFC championship, and this is a prime opportunity with the nation watching to do it again.
If they beat the Chiefs, nobody will be talking about Roethlisberger's declining skills, Antonio Brown's selfishness, national anthem debacles or Tomlin's horrible challenges. Nobody will be talking about Mike Mitchell talking trash to a guy who just ran him over after a 12-yard run for a first down, either.
Instead, they will be talking about the Steelers as one of the best teams in football again. They will be talking about how the Steelers may have put themselves back in position as the team to beat in the AFC.
That's how these things work, and it's abundantly clear the Steelers haven't figured this out. They apparently think the games they've played this year don't matter and that we should focus only on their history. If the Steelers don't want people to criticize them, they shouldn't lose to the dreadful Mike Glennon-led Chicago Bears. If Roethlisberger doesn't want to hear about declining skills and how his heart is no longer in football, he shouldn't throw five interceptions and lose to Blake Bortles and Jacksonville.
I'm not sure why this is so hard for the Steelers to grasp, but they act like they're due respect from their opponents and everyone else just because they wear black and gold. The Bears and Jaguars proved that nobody is afraid of the big, bad Steelers right now. They talk a great game, but now it's time for them to actually play a great game.
The Chiefs are explosive on both sides of the ball. They might have the best special teams, as well. Alex Smith is playing at a higher level than ever, and their defense gives up yards but not a lot of points.
There isn't a better opponent for the Steelers to earn that respect they so dearly desire. This is the week they can silence their critics-all they have to do is beat the Chiefs. It really is that simple.
(c)2017 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.