Lolley: Bet on Ben Bouncing Back

Dale Lolley provides hope for Steelers fans by reminding them of their quarterback's history of bouncing back.

ARLINGTON, Texas – Ben Roethlisberger has had plenty of success throughout his seven-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But he's also had some failures.

Anybody remember a loss in the AFC Championship to the New England Patriots in 2004?

How about a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2007 playoffs?

In both cases, the following season Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory. That's the kind of competitor Roethlisberger is.

"I hate to lose," said Roethlisberger. "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."

You can bet that Roethlisberger will be highly motivated this offseason – assuming that there is football in 2011 – to erase the painful memories of Sunday's 31-25 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

By contrast, we've seen how the Steelers and Roethlisberger deal with success. In both 2006 and 2009, that added up to a pair of 9-7 seasons and no playoffs after Super Bowl-winning seasons.

We got a good look this season how good a motivated Roethlisberger can be.

He cut down on his interceptions, throwing just five in the regular season. He started getting rid of the football more quickly, taking fewer sacks. He took a more active role in the leadership of the team.

In other words, he became a more complete quarterback.

He returned from his four-game NFL suspension in great shape and on top of his game. Yes, that didn't add up to a seventh Super Bowl victory when all was said and done. But who really even expected the Steelers to get this far?

In the long run, a little failure can be a good thing – at least in the case of this team. You can bet that Roethlisberger, and that not-so-good feeling that he has after this game, will be back in the Super Bowl again.

"We're a team of fighters. We don't quit," said Roethlisberger. "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."

© Throughout the playoffs, the Steelers had lived on the edge, playing one very good half and making that hold up for victories over Baltimore and the Jets.

It's a shame that Rashard Mendenhall fumbled on the first play of the fourth quarter because that completely changed all of the momentum the Steelers had gained in the third quarter, when they limited the Packers to 26 yards and one first down.

Mendenhall was having a very good game to that point and the Steelers were running the ball very effectively regardless of who was in the game.

So much for B.J. Raji having his way with Doug Legursky. Raji's day consisted of no tackles and one QB hurry as the Steelers ran for 126 yards on just 23 attempts.

In fact, Legursky was good enough on the world's biggest stage that the Steelers might want to consider letting him stay at center next season and moving Pouncey to guard.

I know, it's crazy to think like that when Pouncey is a Pro Bowl center.

But Legursky showed that he's more than capable of handling the center position - much more so than guard – and wouldn't Pouncey look better pulling through a hole from the left guard position as opposed to Chris Kemoeatu?

© After spending a week in Dallas, I hope the Cowboys never go back to another Super Bowl.

I saw very few problems this week between Steelers and Packers fans. In fact, there seemed to be a mutual respect between the two.

I can't say the same about Cowboys fans, who consistently acted like they didn't appreciate the interlopers in their city.

It's like they've forgotten that their team has won one playoff game since 1995. That's one more playoff win over that period than the Detroit Lions for those of you keeping track at home.

(Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

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