“Not good enough, point blank. No excuses. I don’t make excuses. It just wasn’t good enough. I didn’t play good enough.” — Ben
From Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The Steelers, hoping to bounce back from an 8-8 season, tripped over their 2013 opener today, losing to the Tennessee Titans, 16-9.
It was one bad day all around for the Steelers. They lost four players to injuries, including what appears to be a serious knee injury for center Maurkice Pouncey. He was taken to the hospital in the first quarter.
Halfback LaRod Stephens-Howling left the game in the third quarter with a right knee injury. Cornerback Cortez Allen left with an ankle injury. Linebacker Larry Foote left with a biceps injury in the fourth.
The Steelers lost Pouncey on the drive following the free kick, when right guard David DeCastro, in what appeared an outside zone blocking scheme, tried to throw a block and dived straight into the lower legs of his center. Kelvin Beachum replaced him at center.
“It’s tough. He’s our captain and he’s our leader, and obviously a very good friend. You never like to see a guy get hurt, regardless of who it is. It’s tough.” — Ben, on the injury to Maurkice Pouncey.
Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times.
The Steelers reached the Titans six, where on third-and-one, Isaac Redman never seemed to grasp the handoff from Ben Roethlisberger, the ball bounced into the end zone and Tennessee’s Moise Fokou recovered for a touchback.
The Steelers lost their second turnover of the game when cornerback Alterraun Verner intercepted Roethlisberger to start Tennessee’s scoring drive at the Steelers 49.
“Sometimes that’s all it takes in this game, a play or two…turnovers kill you, that’s why you can’t have it and it’s my fault.” — Ben, on the interception.
Tennessee, which trailed 2-0 following a safety on the opening kickoff, held the Steelers offense off the scoreboard until Roethlisberger threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery with 1:23 left in the game.
You can read more from Mr. Bouchette here.
The one positive from the game – Ben became the 35th quarterback in NFL history to go over 30,000 career yards passing. He’s at 30,035 yards in 10 seasons.
“It comes in a loss, so it doesn’t do anything for me.” — Ben, on the 30,000 passing yards milestone.
The milestone made him the Steelers Digest Player of the Game:
He deserved better, certainly in the course of an afternoon in which he cracked the 30,000-yard passing plateau for his career. It was an afternoon in which his first pass traveled 40 yards and was right on the money only to have it go through his receiver’s hands, an afternoon when he was sacked five times and the running game netted but 32 yards, an afternoon when he rarely was able to operate within a clean pocket.
You can read more from Mr. Labriola’s column here.
You can watch & listen to Ben’s post-game interview here.
You can see a few photos from the game here.
And just a few of the many messages from Steeler Nation, via Facebook & Twitter:
No matter what I’m proud of @_BigBen7 #Steelers — Taylor Moore @CenaGirl2013
“Congrats Ben! Win, lose or draw I always love my Steelers as painful as it is!” — Anna Bejarano
My QB @_BigBen7 is awesome, don’t care he is. He makes mistakes, yes. But he’s still the best. I love you Big Ben — ✰Steelers Nation✰ @____korrea
“Congratulations Ben! (= Love you!” — Caroline LaRue Shoobridge
Hall of Fame stock keeps rising. — Mike Buzz-saw Asti @MikeAsti11
“The big boy can throw. He has a strong arm.” — Eddie Galvan
Congratulations to @_BigBen7 for surpassing the 30,000 career passing yards! #SteelerNation #HereWeGo — Jorge Mtz #⃣2⃣3⃣ @jorgemtzherr23
“Congratulations on reaching the 30,000 milestone!!! We love you!” — Charlene Purta Bigelow
@steelers @_BigBen7 – congrats on 30,000 – staying under the radar as one of the 5 best on the game! — Mark Helisek @mhelisek
Congrats to @_BigBen7 for over 30,000 career passing yards! — Ⓒⓐⓢⓢⓘⓓⓨ☯ @CassidyTaylor43
“Ben..what a class act. The whole teams actions are not your fault!! God bless!” — Amy Dorohovich George
@_BigBen7 will always be the best in my heart❤ — Ashton Please @xoxo_erica88
“I ride or die with this and I am just as proud today as I was in 2005 and 2008 to be a member of Steeler Nation and not another Q.B I want playing for this team.” — Henderson Thomas
That’s okay @steelers we’ll get them next time. @_BigBen7 you tried so hard 🙂 we’ll get them next time Big Ben. you’re still my favorite QB! — Kara Heathcock @MsKaraBear24
“Good Job Ben…. sending support from Costa Rica…. get a back field and a healthy O Line and that will increase!” — James J. Timney
@_BigBen7 The good news this year, you can go home and hug your child and remember that is the most important thing in the world! — Jason Bowser @JasonJbows