“We won the football game, right? This isn’t the BCS, it’s not college, style points don’t matter. We went into that game and we were supposed to win it right on paper, and we won it. If we don’t win it, then everybody is going to be talking about ‘why didn’t they win the game?’ Well we won the game, that should be all that matters.” — Ben.
Here’s a recap from 93.7 The Fan this morning:
In the Steelers 21-18 opening week victory over the Browns, Big Ben and Brown connected on 11 passes to lead the way for the Steelers as they held on to beat their AFC North rival, and Ben shared with us why he wasn’t at all shocked by what Brown did in their opener.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Ben told us about Browns 182-yard day. “I don’t think anybody works as hard as [Antonio] does and I don’t think two people work as well as him and I do…What we’ve done together these last few years playing together, the chemistry that we have, the understanding that we have, the looks, just everything we do to me is on a different level and he’s a different level receiver.”
One player Ben did come away from the game impressed by was tight end Jesse James, who he says was motivated by the trade for Vance McDonald.
“I think Jesse has benefited the most of anybody from the Vance trade,” Ben told us. “He kind of took it personal.” James recorded 6 catches for 41 yards, but more importantly two touchdowns.
Ben pointed out one play in particular where Antonio Brown was streaking down the field after catching a pass and James was doing everything he could to get out ahead of Brown and make just one more block to spring him free and paid James one of the biggest compliments a Steelers tight end could receive.
“That’s a Heath Miller play, if you will. Heath Miller would have done something like that. It’s good to see Jesse do that and I’m really happy for him. He’s not playing JV, I promise you that.
Aside from Brown and James, there were lots of struggles on the offensive side of the ball as it looked like they were shaking off the rust, but Ben isn’t concerned. He went on to admit though that they weren’t at their best and they want “to be the best every week,” but at the end of the day, they still won the game.
A large part of those struggles stemmed from a lack of a running game as Le’Veon Bell rushed for just 32 yards on 10 attempts, one of the worst games of his professional career, so naturally Ben was asked if that was due to Bell shaking off rust after holding out during training camp.
“He probably didn’t get the touches and the carries and everything that he would have probably liked, but that’s just a result of the system of defense that we played.”
So while many were calling out Bell for his poor performance, Ben told us it wasn’t a product of him not being ready.
“The biggest thing for me when we get out there is communication. Is he asking a lot of questions? Is he looking bug-eyed, if you will, when plays are called and things like that? There was none of that. I thought there was great communication.”
Ben admitted there were some miscues between him and Bell where they weren’t able to connect, but says he feels good about where they are moving forward.
You can listen here.