From Teresa Varley at Steelers.com:
Ben Roethlisberger knows this week nothing is a given.
He knows if you listen to the so-called experts, the Steelers wouldn’t even be playing this week in the Wild Card Round against the Kansas City Chiefs.
But they are in the postseason. They are preparing to take on the Chiefs. And they are going to be ready on Sunday night to get the job done, no matter what the ‘experts’ think.
“We probably aren’t supposed to be here. We’re probably not a very good football team. Out of 14 teams that are in, I think we’re probably at number 14. We’re double-digit underdogs in the playoffs. So, let’s just go play and have fun and see what happens. We’re probably 20-point underdogs and we’re going to the team that’s won the AFC the last two years. Arguably the best team in football. We don’t have a chance. So, let’s just go out and play and have fun.”
Roethlisberger is well aware of how close the Steelers came to not being in the postseason. He was like the rest of us, staying up late on Sunday night and sweating it out when the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers went into overtime, and then the game was decided on a last second field goal.
“I wish I would have went to bed instead of staying up and the stress of it, but what a crazy game, crazy ending. You go into the evening excited about getting in and then your hopes start to dwindle there for a little while, and then the last drive you really think they’re going to play for the tie. But there’s other plans out there.”
And those other plans have Roethlisberger and his teammates practicing today at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex preparing to take on the Chiefs, a team that defeated them in Week 16, 36-10, in a game where both teams were missing key components of the offense, with tight end Pat Freiermuth inactive with a concussion and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce inactive after not being able to be cleared to play with COVID.
Roethlisberger knows what the challenge is going to be like, but he is definitely looking for a better outcome this week.
“I hope so. I hope we don’t go in and get blown out by 20 or 30 points. I don’t think Pat played in the first one and we’ll see what happens. They had guys not playing on their team either. I’m sure both teams will be close to full strength as you can get at this time of year. We’ll just go and hopefully we keep it close.”
More from Ben’s Q&A here.