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Roethlisberger Explains Look Of Disgust After Incompleted Deep Pass To Bryant

During Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger attempted to connect with wide receiver Martavis Bryant with a deep pass down the left sideline on a 1st down and 10 play with 2:59 left in the third quarter. After that pass fell incomplete, the television cameras showed Roethlisberger’s reaction and his face looked like he might have been disgusted with Bryant’s effort to find and catch the football.

Because of that facial expression, Roethlisberger was asked Tuesday morning during his weekly interview on 93.7 The Fan if it was a look of disgust and the quarterback then tried to explain why that was.

“If my face gave disgust, I don’t think it was disgust, I think it was more shock,” Roethlisberger explained. “That particular play, and I don’t have a problem telling what happened on that because him and I talked about it on the sideline right afterwards. And so, I’m not saying anything that I haven’t talked to him about so there’s no surprises here.”

Roethlisberger then proceeded to give a lengthy description of why that deep pass to Bryant was called and why he believes the wide receiver looked like he didn’t make much of an effort to catch the football.

“On that particular play, it was a pass-run option,” started Roethlisberger. “If they [the Bengals defense] gave us a two-high safety [look], any kind of two-high safety, we’re supposed to run the ball and if they went to a single-high [safety look], I check to it and we go to a pass, to a deep play for him [Bryant]. In the huddle, I was pretty sure that they were going to stay in kind of a two-high, but a quarters-look, with the safeties about 10 to 12 yards and I told Tey [Martavis], I said, ‘Hey, be ready, I’m coming to you. If they stay in this quarters, I know we’re supposed to run it, but I’m taking a shot. Like it’s time that we go up top.’

“And so, we came out and they gave me the quarters look, which says I’m supposed to run it, but it’s still a decent look for a deep pass. We had a good protection and what happened on the play is, Martavis, he’s supposed to look back at about 10 to 12 yards and see me throw the ball. That’s the whole point of the play is if he can see the ball out of my hands, he can track it and get under it and make a play, adjust, do whatever needs to happen. And when we looked at the pictures on the sideline, he hadn’t looked until about 25 yards. So, at that point, he never saw the ball out my hand and I don’t think he ever saw the ball in the air.”

Roethlisberger continued.

“So, it ends up looking like a poor effort play, when really, it’s just that little detail of looking a little sooner because like I said, we got the protection, I put it out there for him, I knew he was going to run under it and he just didn’t see it out of my hand. And so, I don’t want to call him out for lack of effort, I think it’s just a lack of that little detail keeps us from having a touchdown, because that’s a touchdown. If he finds the ball out of my hand, there’s no doubt in my mind it’s a touchdown. I think that’s the look I had, it’s more like oh man, we just talked about this. Like I thought we had it, more like shock and awe than anything.”

So, there you go. Roethlisberger thinks that Bryant’s lack of attention to detail caused him to be unable to track the deep pass in the air and that’s why he seemed to be disgusted after the football fell incomplete.

In case you’re curious, Roethlisberger has thrown 15 deep passes to Bryant in the team’s first seven games of the season and the wide receiver has caught just three of them for 87 yards. It’s worth noting, however, that one of those incompleted passes drew a pass interference call that netted 49 yards and that play happened in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Sunday night the Steelers will play the Detroit Lions on the road and their defense has only given up 15 deep pass completions in the team’s first six games of the season. Additionally, only six of those completed deep passes against the Lions defense were caught by wide receivers.

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