The Pittsburgh Steelers have turned to a form of a no-huddle, or muddle-huddle, offense at times this season, and did so in the second half during Sunday's crucial 28-24 win over the Baltimore Ravens. And quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told reporters after the game that he was literally making up plays on the spot at points.
"I know everybody says I do well in playground, backyard football," he said. "Today it was in its truest form."
It clearly worked—Roethlisberger finished 21-of-32 for 182 yards and two scores. He was sacked twice. Those aren't exactly explosive numbers, but on a day when the Steelers scored a defensive touchdown, forced four turnovers and sacked Lamar Jackson four times, it was more than enough.
Breaking news, folks—the 7-0 Steelers are really, really good. Maybe the best team in football. Not that they are spending much time celebrating Sunday's win over a hated divisional rival.
"We did not function well in a lot of ways," head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters after the game.
"We're happy to win," outside linebacker T.J. Watt added. "We don't care if it's good, bad or ugly."
We knew Pittsburgh's defense was good last season. The difference between last year's 8-8 team that missed the postseason for the second straight time and this year's Super Bowl contender has been the return of Roethlisberger, who missed almost all of the 2019 campaign with a right elbow injury.
He has now thrown for 1,628 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Translated to a full 16 games, he's on pace for 3,721 yards, 34 touchdowns and nine picks. Those are numbers the Steelers will absolutely take.
And if he gets them drawing up plays in the sand, well, so be it.