Steelers 25, Packers 31

Ben threw 25-40 with 263 total yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get a rally going in the final two minutes.

“It’s on my shoulders,” Ben said in an interview that aired on NFL Network after the loss. “We didn’t play good and we dug ourselves a hole…No excuses. Just can’t do it. Regardless of the situation, you just can’t turn the ball over.

“This game, it’s a crazy game. The ball’s got to bounce your way sometimes. And sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. You’ve got to give them credit. They’re a good football team and they got after us.”

You can watch his interview here.

From his press conference:

On the loss –

“It was hard-fought. Obviously, it’s disappointing to lose.For me, it’s even more disappointing because you feel like you let a lot of people down that stood up today to fight – people like Doug Lekursky, Trai Essex, Ramon Foster, Antwaan Randle El. Personally, I feel like I let a lot of people down.”

On not getting a win for Hines Ward –

“I mean, it’s hard to…people like that just play with grit and determination. We’ve got guys like Chris Kemoeatu who’s cramping in both legs, yet he still gets out there in the last couple of drives. We’ve got guys that just are not going to quit fighting. Mike Wallace hurts his shoulder early on. I mean, we’ve got so many things that banged us up. Emmanuel Sanders does something to his foot and can’t play the rest of the game. Guys have got to step up and they did that. That’s why I’m so proud of these guys, because you’ve got leaders like Hines that no matter what just keep taking shots and just keeps getting up and keeps fighting to win it.”

On how confident they were that they would be able “come back” as they did in their last two Super Bowl appearances –

“Yeah, you feel pretty good. You like your chances obviously. We either had one timeout or no timeouts and it was going to be tough, but you never stop believing.”

On the play to Mike Wallace in the end zone that may have changed the game –

“This is a tough game and there are probably a lot of ‘what ifs.’ There’re a lot of throws I’d like to have back. Like I said, I don’t put blame on anybody but myself. I feel like I let the city of Pittsburgh down, the fans, my coaches, my teammates. It’s not a good feeling.”

On the Packers defense –

“You know what, you’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They’re a great defense. They got after us and I turned the ball over and you can’t do that.”

On what the loss means to him –

“You know me. I hate to lose. Like I said, especially when you feel like you’re letting down guys that really stepped up today in a big way. So it’s really hard. It’s not fun. I hate to lose.”

On his thoughts about the Steelers last drive of the game –

“Like I said, you always have hope and believe in each other and in yourself that you can get it done.”

On their attempt to come back late –

“We’re a team of fighters. We don’t quit. We believe in each other. We were going to fight all the way to the last second, which I think we did. If I had played a little bit better, I feel like we would have had a better chance to win the game.”

On Antwaan Randel El coming in for Emmanuel Sanders –

“That’s one of the guys that I’m really proud of and I feel bad because you want to win it for guys like that that step up and do some great things. You can’t say enough about a veteran like that gets his reps. He practiced his butt (off) and you just throw him in there and you expect him to not miss a beat and I think he did that.”

You can watch the Steelers post-game press conference here.

Take a moment or two to read Greg Doyel’s column at CBS Sports here.

The fan responses started coming in just moments after the game:

“Ben said after the game it was on his shoulders, but that’s not how I feel. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without him and those broad shoulders this season! Love ya Ben!” — Stacy Lenart, AL

“We may not have won, but I’m still so proud of Ben. He has fought through so much adversity to get here. My heart breaks for him and the team.” — Billie Joe, Pittsburgh.

“I’ll say this about Ben. He’s overcome a lot this season and has turned his life around in the process and I am so proud of him for that! He toughed out the season with a broken foot, a broken nose, messed up his knee and his shoulder. Was it his best game, no! But they wouldn’t have been there without him!” — Stanley C., New Jersey.

“He needs to know he didn’t let fans down! It was a bad game, but he’s done well. Given us a lot to cheer for! There was a time I wasn’t even sure I’d ever see the team win a Championship. He’s given us two so far, with much more room to go! I’m proud of them! They had a heck of a season. 10-3 playoff record, 2-1 in the SB ain’t bad!” — Rebecca M., Beaver Falls, PA

“Big Ben: You did us proud this season. Keep up the good work. Life is full of lessons. Everyone one who criticized your personal life has their own shortcomings. I wonder if they would want their personal life advertised all over the national media. Thanks for a great season!!” — Michelle Vukovich, Fredericksburg, VA

“Hi Ben: I just want you to know that I (who has been a Steeler fan for many years) am truly proud of you and all the Steelers. Please know that you are no more solely responsible for any loss than you are totally responsible for any win–football is and remains a team sport. Please continue to be the man that we all know you can be. You are my hero!!!” — Betty, a Steeler fan for more than 40+ years!

“PS: See you in next year’s SUPER BOWL!!!!!”

“Ben, thanks for a great run! Rest up, heal up and we look forward to seeing you in training camp and ready for a new season.” — The Parkers, Richmond, VA

“There is still no one else I would rather have quarterbacking for my team than Big Ben.” — D. Davis, OH

“Once again I would like to express how proud I am of Ben and the entire Steelers organization. Ben doesn’t need to win a Super Bowl to prove to anyone he’s a changed man. His determination in life and a heart to win puts him high on my list of great men. We all have test in life and we all make mistakes. I love the fact he looked pass his personal issues and moved on with his life and his career. My prayer is that he will hold his head high and learn from this year so he can grow as a man and a player. Wish Ben a safe and healthy off season with his family and friends. BTW, At my church yesterday it had the look of Steeler Nation, as many of the members came out in their black and gold. God bless you and everyone and we the members of Steeler Nation NC look forward to a productive season next year.” — Glenn Smith, NC

“To Ben and the rest of the guys, Thank you for a great season. You took us for one heck of a ride, all the way to the Super Bowl. You may not have won but, I am dang proud of you guys! I hope you guys have a safe, happy, and relaxing off-season. Can’t wait to August for Training Camp. Until then enjoy your off-season and spending time with your families and friends.” — Dot Kifer, Rimersburg, PA

“Hey Ben, you didn’t let me down! I was proud of you tonight, win or lose. I have been proud of you all season! I’m confident that #7 will get us our 7th Super Bowl win in the near future!” — John Ward, Arizona Steeler Nation

“Ben and the Steelers- You never gave up, you kept playing and fought till the end. It was a fantasic season with ups and downs, you took us all the way to the superbowl, but let that be moviation to get back there again next season! I’m very proud of you! Enjoy the offseason with your family and friends, with some much needed rest! Can’t wait until August for training camp! See you all there!” -Misty Hancock, Maryland

“What a game! I know that when you don’t finish where you thought you would you can end up thinking it wasn’t worth it. But it truly was! You guys showed us that even through adversity when the whole league gives up on you and the last gave of a storied season ends in a loss, we can take pride that we can get the job done. Thanks for giving credit for the blessings by pointing to the heavens and taking on personal let downs know all in all its the life between the Sundays and seasons that make the difference. Let’s go Steelers!!!” — Hoss Ridgeway, Statesville NC

“Remember, Ben – win or lose – we’re all Steeler fans forever…that’s why they call us your proud Steeler Nation! Congratulations on an amazing season. We look forward to the next one. All the best in the off-season…enjoy your accomplishments.” — The Petro Family, London, Ontario Canada

“Ben, you did not let me down…You overcame so much this year and I am so proud of you and the team. You guys fought so hard and I know you guys are gonna overcome this and be stronger. Ben I am praying for you I am proud to call my self a Big Ben fan.” — Melisa Martinez, Bastrop TX

“Ben, I’m sorry that you guys didn’t win the Super Bowl, but you guys played awesome this season!!!! Hope you guys have a nice relaxing off season, and I can’t wait to see you in the fall for the new season!!! Love you guys!” — Brittany, PA

“It was awesome to watch them get through Ben’s suspension and then welcome Ben back. It was a great ride that just fell a bit short. Can’t wait to see them play again next season.” — Melissa, Minnesota

“Ben, I am so sorry that you guys did not win this 7th Super Bowl. Even though this is a really tough one, you still have 2 rings, the Steelers still have won more Super Bowls than any other team right now, and you are still the current AFC Champs. I am proud of the way this team stayed together, and worked together through all of the adversity.” — Kimberley Mobley – Murfreesboro, TN

“I am just as proud of Ben and the Steelers as I was before the game! You guys made for one heck of a great season! Thank you from a proud fan!” — George S., FL

“Great Season! Love my fellow Steelers fans and the players! Hope he has a safe, great relaxing off-season. See you guys in the fall- God Bless!” — Sarah G.

“Wanted to add my voice to those supporting Ben after a tough loss last night. He has won back my support over the course of the season by his actions, especially off the field. No one who watches the game could ever doubt his toughness or drive to win. Our family, and, I’m sure, the entire Steeler Nation is putting this one behind us today and looking forward to great things from Ben in the future, both on and off the field. Can’t wait for training camp!!” — Elaine Spry

“I just wanted to be one of Ben’s fans to tell him to shake this loss off. He will be back next season. He had a great season despite all the challenges that were placed before him. He has two superbowl rings… He has proven success. He will be back. He needs to put this loss in the past and look forward to next season. His fans love and support him no matter what.” — Janae Clark

“Hey Ben, just wanted to congratulate you on a great season and to let you know that you DID NOT let us down. You know you will be back to the SB again. The only way you will let us (the fans) down is if you slip up this off season. So stay strong and stay out of news and the Steelers will be back! Black and Yellow Baby!!” — Steve T.

“It was not the best game. But the Steelers win or lose as a team. You played a great season and I’m very proud of this team, and especially of you. Don’t worry Ben, we’ll try again next year. GO STEELERS! Once a fan – always a fan.” – Ela, Dresden, Germany

“Dear Ben, there’s still no one I’d rather have at the helm of my Steelers team. You have won in so many other, and truly more important ways, and should be proud of all you have accomplished. Congratulations on a wonderful season that far exceeded my expectations and have a happy, healthy, safe, and quiet off-season! Now keeping my fingers crossed for a quick resolution to the NFL labor negotiations so we can see you at training camp this summer! (yours is one of the few autographs my family hasn’t gotten yet at TC–you’re becoming our holy grail!)” — Charlene B and family, Philadelphia, PA

“PS: Erin, congrats to you too…you’ve done a wonderful job maintaining Ben’s web site with class and dignity this year! Best wishes for a much easier off-season!”

*Charlene, thank you so much for that, and thank you to everyone who took the time to send your thoughts!