Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger on Being Underdogs vs. Chiefs: Let's Just Go Have Fun

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 12, 2022

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks on after throwing a touchdown during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)
AP Photo/Terrance Williams

Ben Roethlisberger probably isn't transitioning to a career as a motivational speaker after he retires from football.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback gave a blunt assessment of his team's chances heading into Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

 “We’re probably 20-point underdogs, and we’re going to the No. 1 team. I know they’re not the No. 1 seed, but they’re the No. 1 team that's won the AFC the last two years, arguably the best team in football. We don’t have a chance, so let’s just go in and have fun," Roethlisberger told reporters Wednesday.

Alan Saunders @ASaunders_PGH

Ben Roethlisberger says the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> are embracing the role as playoff underdogs.<br><br>"We probably aren't supposed to be here." <a href="https://t.co/IKC3SpNisD">pic.twitter.com/IKC3SpNisD</a>

While there is obviously some level of facetiousness to his comments, Roethlisberger isn't wrong about the Everest-esque climb the Steelers have coming. The Chiefs are favored by 12.5 points at DraftKings, by far the largest spread of the opening round. 

The first matchup between these two teams was a 36-10 Chiefs blowout victory that saw them dismantle the Steelers on both sides of the ball. Roethlisberger threw for 159 yards and one touchdown against an interception in that Week 16 contest, with the lone touchdown coming in garbage time.

The Steelers enter the postseason having scored a touchdown in the first half in only one of their last seven games. Their anemic passing attack has been hindered by Roethlisberger's inability to stretch the field with his arm, with the team moving the ball down the field via a series of underneath passes.

Roethlisberger's 6.2 yards per attempt were a full-season career low, and he did not top the 6.0 YPA mark in any of the Steelers' final four games.

The Chiefs, by contrast, are winners of nine of their last 10 games to settle in as AFC favorites. It would take a herculean effort from the 39-year-old Roethlisberger, who is almost certainly retiring after this season, to be able to keep up and extend his career for another week.