Can You Be Perfect Tonight?

In borrowing from Friday Night Lights, Mike Prisuta asks that question of Ben Roethlisberger as he pursues quarterbacking excellence.

Ben Roethlisberger's stated goal this week was to become more of a vocal leader.

He also wants to tear up Oakland.

"It's time for me to turn it on," Roethlisberger said.

The passer rating of 97.1 Roethlisberger has established since his return from suspension is better than Peyton Manning (93.9), Eli Manning (92.1), Matt Ryan (91.9), Drew Brees (91.7), Joe Flacco (90.1) and Carson Palmer (83.0), among others.

But in recent showdowns against Brees and Tom Brady, Roethlisberger was no better than the second-best quarterback on the field and the Steelers lost to the Saints and Patriots.

Roethlisberger has nine touchdown passes, four interceptions, an average gain per attempt of 8.25 yards and 1,304 passing yards, and has completed 62.7 percent of his throws.

But the Steelers are just 3-2 with him and Roethlisberger assesses his performance as follows:

"Not good enough."

It's not Brady or Brees playing the role of Roethlisberger's opposite number this Sunday.

But Roethlisberger still holds himself accountable to dominate.

That's always the case, but given the Steelers' present situation -- coming off of an unsettling loss to New England and facing an Oakland team the Steelers perceive as a genuine threat -- that'll especially be the case against Jason Campbell and the Raiders.

"It's not about the two quarterbacks, but I always want to outdo that person because I feel if I play better than that guy I give our team a better chance to win the game,"

Roethlisberger said. "I sit there and say to myself, ‘I want to play a perfect game.' My goal is to go out there every week and be 30-for-30 for 300 yards, 4 touchdowns, no picks, something that you can sit there after the game, I can sit there, you can sit there, my teammates can sit there and say, ‘Ben balled-out and he's one of the reasons we won the game.' I don't want to be a non-factor."

Roethlisberger hasn't been that since his return, nor has he played that game he's demanding from himself.

"Not in my opinion, no," he said.

The leadership thing is secondary to that on this Sunday's to-do list.

Although he intended to step it up vocally, Roethlisberger maintained he's been leading all along.

"It's talking to the guys, communicating with the receivers, the linemen," he said. "If someone needs to get chewed out, they're going to have to get chewed out. I've always been one not to make a spectacle about it. If you've seen me there are times when I hold my towel up over my mouth and let guys know."

He's not Brady and won't force-feed a Brady-esque sideline tirade. But Roethlisberger maintains he's every bit as intense.

"Most of the guys that have been around me know that it means just as much as if I'd be flamboyantly yelling, screaming at those guys," he said. "I'm like, ‘Listen I'm gonna tell you this one last time ….' They know it means just as much.

"I don't want to embarrass anybody, that's not the point of it. If someone messes up they know they screwed up. You don't need to bring them down any more. So my philosophy has always been each guy has their own way of being motivated or getting chewed out, if you will. Some guys need to be yelled at. Some guys need to be more talked to, pulled aside. Some guys need to be called out in front of other guys. You just have to know who's who."

That being the case, how Roethlisberger plays figures to impact the Raiders game more than any ratcheted-up display of leadership. With the course of the season hanging in the balance on Sunday, Roethlisberger acknowledged the need for him to play his version of the perfect game. That's his focus first and foremost, his quest.

"It'd be a great time (to do it), yeah."

If he does, the rest should take care of itself.


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