Speaking with 93.7 FM The Fan in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger criticized Washington's drop in the third quarter of Sunday's 24-17 defeat to the Denver Broncos.
"He has to make it," the Steelers quarterback said (h/t the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Joe Rutter). "I just think he didn't trust his hands. For some reason, he jump/dove. I'm not really sure what he was doing. We look at it (on film), and coach got on him pretty good yesterday. We took a long, hard look at it. James needs to run through that, and it's a touchdown."
With 4:40 left in the third quarter, Roethlisberger targeted Washington on a deep throw down the right. Washington nearly completed an acrobatic grab but lost control of the ball as he hit the ground.
After the game, he told reporters he thought diving was his best option to try to complete the catch.
"Honestly I felt like I had to dive because it was just a weird adjustment," Washington said, per PennLive.com. "So I felt like I had to. It was just kind of over the outside shoulder and my body wasn't in position to catch it on the run like that."
In the moment, many agreed with Roethlisberger's general assessment.
If Washington stays on his feet and brings that pass down, then he's likely running free to the end zone and putting the Steelers ahead. Instead, Pittsburgh punted two plays after Washington's drop, and the score remained tied at 17.
While Washington's drop wasn't the sole reason the Steelers lost, the mistake was somewhat costly in retrospect.
Pittsburgh's next three drives ended in a fumble, a punt and Roethlisberger's interception with 1:03 remaining. A touchdown from Washington wouldn't have guaranteed victory with so much time left in the second half, but it would have undoubtedly changed the complexion of the game.