The Steelers had the opportunities they needed on the field on Sunday in Green Bay. However, due to a bevy of execution issues, none of them ever came to fruition.
No two plays exemplify this more than the two near misses that Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster had on balls where Smith-Schuster was wide open. It appeared on both plays like Roethlisberger sailed the pass and simply missed Smith-Schuster. It continued a line of play that made Roethlisberger the main culprit for the Steelers’ struggles Sunday.
Smith-Schuster and Roethlisberger both took the blame for these misses. It certainly looks as if on both that Roethlisberger simply sailed them an inch too much. That first one might be slightly catchable, but it would be a phenomenal catch if Smith-Schuster somehow caught it. So, both of these are more so on Roethlisberger, who took the blame himself in stride.
“I kinda got caught between putting air under it and letting him run under it or taking some air off because you don’t want him to get hit,” Roethlisberger said. “Either way, both of those are on me. Those are plays I need to make …
“In order for a deep ball to be successful, both parties have to be on the same page and understand the coverage and what is going on. But at the end of the day, I am the one throwing it. I’m the one that has to be accurate. And that’s what I’ll say to the guys.”
In a similar tone, Smith-Schuster took the blame off his quarterback’s shoulders and instead placed it onto his own. While Roethlisberger may have sailed it a bit too much, Smith-Schuster says the minor details on his end caused the incompletion.
“It was supposed to be basically an out-and-up,” Smith-Schuster said of the first pass. “I think there was a little bit of a miscommunication. Ben didn’t know where the safety was, so he kinda threw me inside. I was trying to stack and come back to it and get underneath it. But I didn’t get there in time.”
It was a tough sequence of plays that were left on the field for Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster. However, the only thing they can work on at this point is trying to develop that chemistry and for Roethlisberger, to try and find more consistent mechanics and feel for his receivers in the Matt Canada offense.