Something appears not to be right with Ben Roethlisberger.
It shows in the passer rating that through two games is roughly a third of what it was in 2005. It shows in dubious decisions such as when he tried to force a pass to tight end Heath Miller in the end zone last Sunday in a 28-20 loss to the Bengals.
And it may even show in the way he laughed off a question about what the cumulative effects of two traumatic incidents have had on him and, by extension, his play.
"The doctor said nothing's wrong with my brain," Roethlisberger said, "and it seems like I'm having brain farts out there."
Yet, there may be forces at work that not even Roethlisberger can comprehend, forces that have led or at least contributed to the two subpar showings he has recorded in consecutive Steelers losses.
One psychiatry expert said Roethlisberger may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can lead to feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed.
Another said the adrenaline that has always worked for Roethlisberger may now be working against him due to biological changes over which Roethlisberger has no control.
One thing that can not be disputed is Roethlisberger has been through a lot since becoming the youngest quarterback ever to win the Super Bowl.
A little more than three months after celebrating his 24th birthday in March, Roethlisberger lost his aura of invincibility and nearly his life in a motorcycle accident. His injuries included multiple facial fractures and required seven hours of surgery at Mercy Hospital.
He reported to training camp in July on time, but less than a week before the Steelers' season opener, Roethlisberger had an emergency appendectomy.
"You start adding up his trauma, somewhere you've got to figure his stress level is increased," said Dr. Ron Knause, a sports medicine psychiatrist who is based in the Tampa Bay area. "Without a doubt."