Should Injuries Permit Ben Roethlisberger a Pass for Steelers' 2012 Collapse?

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 23: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks up at the scoreboard while standing on the sideline during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals during the game at Heinz Field on December 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Ben Roethlisberger is banged up, but his injuries in 2012 don't absolve him of responsibility for the way the Pittsburgh Steelers have fallen apart this season. 

After all, Big Ben is responsible for five of the seven turnovers committed by the Steelers in the past three games—two of which led directly to a loss in the waning stages of the game.

He has been dealing with injuries his entire career, but somehow, Roethlisberger has found ways to make plays when the chips are down—until now, that is. 

It comes with the territory of playing behind a sub-par offensive line, and throughout his tenure with Pittsburgh, he's been one of the NFL's best quarterbacks at avoiding pressure and making things happen when plays break down.

Nothing has changed on that count, but instead of making game-winning touchdown passes,  Roethlisberger has been throwing interceptions that have cost his team games.

Roethlisberger's first quarter interception in Week 16 against the Bengals was returned by Leon Hall for a touchdown. It looked like he never saw Hall, who was standing right in front of Heath Miller on the play. 

Then, in the fourth quarter with less than 30 seconds left to play, Roethlisberger was late on a throw to Mike Wallace, allowing Reggie Nelson the chance to run underneath Wallace to make an interception that led to the game-winning field goal for the Bengals. 

Roethlisberger has been back for three games now since missing three with a rib injury. He appears to be healthy, but he is out of rhythm. 

There is no excuse for Roethlisberger's poor play. He simply isn't getting the job done with games on the line down the home stretch in 2012. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 and check out my weekly NFL picks at