The Steelers are 1-0 with Charlie Batch at quarterback. They are 0-3 behind has-been Ben Roethlisberger. It's obvious that Batch is a gamer who knows how to win, and the Steelers would be better off with him in the lineup.
The preceding message was paid for by the People with Short Memories and Exceptionally Poor Judgment.
No sane person is calling for a quarterback change just yet. But everyone in Pittsburgh is wondering what's wrong with the former wunderkind. Before the loss to the Chargers, Big Ben flatulently denied speculation that his poor start was a side effect of his summer motorcycle crash.
"The doctors said there's nothing wrong with my brain, but it seems like I'm having brain farts out there," he told The Sporting News.
That could be trouble: the NFL now tests for mental Beano.
columnist Ron Cook agrees that the crash had little to do with Big Ben's rough start. "That doesn't mean the problem isn't in his head," suggests Cook, noting that the Steelers must find a cure for Big Ben's blues in a hurry. Fans are growing impatient; this franchise hasn't won a championship in months.
Roethlisberger admits that he's frustrated by his lousy start, but he seems confident that he will snap out of it. "I know I can play better. I know I will." We know you will too, buddy. Every young quarterback faces a rough patch early in his career. You just saved yours until after you won a Super Bowl. And if brain farts were really an illness, then Aaron Brooks would be quarantined at the Mayo Clinic right now.
GAMES YOU WILL WATCH
Chiefs at Steelers: Roethlisberger currently has the second-worst passer rating in the NFL at 47.1. He's facing Damon Huard, who possesses the second-highest passer rating in the league at 107.4.
Damon Huard? You betcha. And while that NFL rating stat is pretty lame (news flash: David Carr isn't the best quarterback in the league), Huard is playing well. He ranks eighth in the league in DPAR, the best statistic available for rating quarterbacks. Huard may not win many games with his arm, but he won't lose them, either. The Chiefs need him at his best, because Larry Johnson (neck) may not be at top speed.
With their resilient offensive line and improved defense, the Chiefs are still a good team, even without Trent Green. And that's the Steelers' biggest problem this year: they keep facing good teams. Last year's playoff run came when the Steelers reached the soft underbelly of their schedule. There are few soft spots this season, and every opponent the Steelers have faced so far had a winning record in 2005.
This is the week for the Steelers to climb out of their funk. With L.J. hurting, their defense has the chance to bring Huard back to earth and win a game with minimal Roethlisberger assistance. Next week starts a two-game road trip that features a semi-tough opponent (Atlanta) followed by an easy one (Oakland). They want to escape that road swing with a 3-4 record at worst. Vegas likes the Steelers (6.5 point favorites), and so do we. Don't be surprised if Big Ben is smelling like a rose by the end of the day on Sunday.