Brady proves he's the better QB
When Ben Roethlisberger said New England Patriots superstar Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL, he wasn't just listening to himself talk. Roethlisberger believed every word because he and Brady belong to a very special fraternity.
They're the only active quarterbacks to win at least two Super Bowls. Winning trumps everything.
"I think he's the best to play the game right now," Roethlisberger said about Brady before the Steelers' 39-26 loss Sunday night to the Patriots at Heinz Field. "He's just a really good passer. He's a good leader. He seems to do a little bit of everything."
Brady has what Roethlisberger wants, which is another Super Bowl victory; Brady leads, 3-2, in that category.
Mind you, Roethlisberger has one more Super Bowl win than Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning, so they don't count. Neither does Philip Rivers, who is still seeking his first Super Bowl ring.
If those players are standard-bearers for what passes for elite quarterbacks, none of them belong in the same room with Brady. When asked about Brady last week, Roethlisberger knew what he was doing when he listed Brady in a class by himself.
"He's really something special," said Roethlisberger, who has never spoken about Manning with such reverence. "He's as good as it gets."
Why would Roethlisberger bother with the rhetoric if he didn't mean it• Since returning from his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, Roethlisberger has made an honest attempt to improve his public image.
It's been an excruciatingly tough challenge, almost as difficult as deciphering New England coach Bill Belichick's complicated defensive schemes. According to CNBC, Roethlisberger's No. 7 jersey sales dropped out of the top 25 from April through October on NFLShop.com, the league's official store. It marked the first time Roethlisberger's jersey didn't rank among the top 25 in sales since early September of his rookie season six years ago.
That was before Roethlisberger became the Steelers' starting quarterback, well before he became the youngest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl at 23, and then won another Super Bowl three years later for good measure.
At 28, Roethlisberger is doing everything in his power to take the next step and become more like Brady, the quarterback he seemingly wants to emulate. Based on last night's first half, he had his work cut out for him.
Brady was 17 of 25 for 180 yards and a touchdown, despite no longer having Randy Moss in his arsenal. Brady spread the ball around with surgical precision to eight different receivers in building a 10-3 halftime lead.
Roethlisberger was 7 of 20 for 90 yards in the first half. The air seemed to go out of the Steelers' passing attack when Hines Ward suffered a neck injury late in the first quarter. Mike Wallace dropped a touchdown pass, and Antwaan Randle El couldn't handle another potential scoring toss.
Brady finished by completing 30 of 43 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for another score. Roethlisberger piled up yardage -- and three touchdowns -- in the fourth quarter and finished 30 of 49 for 387 yards. He also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Roethlisberger has to fight the temptation to force throws, then explain that he was only trying to make a play following a costly interception. Against Brady, he had to be on top of his game, even if some of his offensive teammates weren't on top of theirs.
That's what franchise quarterbacks are paid handsomely do to -- make something good happen. That's what Brady does all the time. That's what he did last night.
Late in the third quarter, Roethlisberger drove the Steelers inside the red zone. Wallace's blazing speed led to a New England pass interference penalty, and the Steelers appeared poised to score their first touchdown of the game.
However, Roethlisberger failed to connect with rookie Emmanuel Sanders on a third-down pass in the end zone. It's a routine that Roethlisberger and Ward have performed successfully for years, but Ward wasn't in the game because of injury and Roethlisberger and Sanders weren't on the same page. Making matters worse, Jeff Reed missed a 26-yard field goal.
The Steelers' defense, ranked No. 4 overall, futilely attempted to corral Brady, who had his way all game. And the Steelers' offense, ranked No. 28 overall, attempted to overcome the defensive letdown.
It was the type of game that Brady has made famous, a game that Roethlisberger has played before and will play in the future and needed to play last night for the Steelers to have a chance.
He couldn't pull it off.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Injury to RT Gilbert opens door for Adams to start
- Stakes high as ex-Saints receiver Moore faces his former team
- Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
- Rossi: Time for Steelers to turn it on
- Rossi: Steelers starting on defense was a big mistake
- Rossi: Book on Steelers coach Tomlin is still open
- Rossi: As Blount walked, Porter called
- Steelers’ lookahead: New Orleans Saints
- Steelers cornerback Taylor ready to swap earpiece for helmet