Ben Roethlisberger met with the media Wednesday. Here's what the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers had to say about the Pro Bowl and his team's come-from-behind wins this season:
How important is home-field advantage?
You want to be at home because it's important to our fans and it's easier to prepare. We just want to make the playoffs and we did that. Wherever we have to play, we'll play.
It seems like you've been better on the road this year, it hasn't mattered where you play?
We have to take that mentality. It doesn't matter where we're playing or who we're playing, we've got to play Steelers football. We've done that so far and we have a big test again this week.
How do you account for you best play coming late in games?
Wanting to win, I guess. Desire. I wish it didn't come down to that, but sometimes it does. We'll take it. It adds to the fun and suspense. Sometimes we do it just so the fans keep watching.
What do they lose with (Kyle) Vanden Bosch and (Albert) Haynesworth not in there?
Some big boys in the middle, Pro Bowl guys that are out. We should hopefully be able to utilize the run. It's a big loss for them. But they're still obviously a good football team.
Do you feel like you've got nothing to lose this weekend? You've already wrapped up the No. 2 seed.
You want to win the game, I'm not saying I don't really care. But I think you go into it a little more loose, a little more carefree and just play football. I think that will be good for us. We'll see.
Does it bother you that a quarterback with 11 wins didn't make the Pro Bowl?
No. I'm so proud of our three guys. I'm OK. I'll take a Super Bowl.
Should there have been more than three guys?
I'm proud of the three guys we had, I'll leave it at that.
People want to know why you can't get things going earlier in the game, does something just kick in?
I don't know, I think it's maybe we're desperate and we've got to get it done. It's something about it that shows a lot of character from our guys. They step up when they've got to and find a way to get it done.
Is home field advantage as big a deal as it's made out to be?
You prefer to play at home. Obviously, we've shown you can do it the other way. But it's always better to be there, especially on offense, because you can use your cadence and just being at home, it's nicer with our fans. We know wherever we go, it's going to be kind of a home-field advantage anyway.
Tennessee has caused a lot of turnovers, is it good coverage in the back, disruption up front or both?
Yes. It's everything. They're so good up front getting pressure and then the secondary, Chris Hope and those guys find a way of making plays on the ball. Even if it's not right to them, they find a way to tip a ball and make a play.
How different are you now from your rookie year?
I'm a little more comfortable. It's easier to talk to you guys, it's easier to go on the football field. It's fun. Not that it wasn't fun then, but it was more panic and stress then. Now, it's just going out and doing what I love to do.
Are you a more grizzled veteran?
Not quite, but I do feel like that a little bit, so it's nice.
Re: Kerry Collins.
I think he's done a great job. Kerry's a phenomenal football player. I see he just passed 37,000 yards, only the 14th quarterback to do that. He's been impressive this year.
What's going on when you take the play clock all the way down, is it identifying the defense?
Yeah. When they're moving guys all over the place, it's hard to identify, especially on the road. If it's no-huddle, we run the clock down on purpose so that we can change the play and move things around. It hasn't been a problem I don't think.
Is there a danger of the defense timing the snap?
No, I don't think so.
Is there anything more to that Baltimore drive than winning that game?
It was big. We had to do it. We knew what was at stake on offense when we went out there. There was no panic. The first play we went out and completed it to Hines (Ward) and I think everybody just looked at each other and said, ‘We have to get it done.' It wasn't anything more than that. I didn't give any big rah-rah speeches. I think the guys look at me now and know me enough to say, ‘Let's just go out and do it.'
Is that your signature drive?
I don't know. I've had a couple. I guess so. I wish it was the Super Bowl, that would have been more fun.
But does that change you at all, do you get confidence from that?
I think I'm all right.
Do you just get into the zone in those situations?
Yeah, it's just a situation that everybody has to have an understanding and feeling about each other. Receivers have to be on the same page, the line, everybody doing it together.
How valuable is having all of these close games and come-from-behind-wins down the road?
Every game we've played has been really tough for us. We know that its only made us stronger playing these teams.
Is there more there on offense that you haven't even scratched the surface of yet?
I think so. We still have potential. We have things that we haven't shown and hopefully it comes out at the right time.
Is that how you account for an offense that's statistically ranked in the 20s for the past two months winning so many games in the end?
I think you also have to take into consideration that we've played in certain elements, whether it's wind, snow, rain. And we haven't played exactly last-place defenses every week. So I'm proud of the way we've hung in there and found ways to win.