Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hasn't played like his usual self in 2021. Through four games, he's thrown just four touchdowns. After leading productive offenses most of his career, Roethlisberger's Steelers are averaging 16.8 points per game, good for 28th in the NFL.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin still believes Roethlisberger will turn it around after a 1-3 start. Tomlin gave him a vote of confidence Tuesday, saying he's "absolutely" the best quarterback for the Steelers.
Reporter: Is Ben Roethlisberger the best quarterback for this offense?
Mike Tomlin: “Absolutely."
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) October 5, 2021
Tomlin expanded on that, saying he's comfortable believing in Roethlisberger based on "what he does and what he's done." Tomlin also said the offensive struggles aren't solely on the quarterback.
Roethlisberger, 39, has received criticism for his poor decision-making this season. That continued during Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers. Roethlisberger slightly overthrew what would have been a touchdown pass to a wide open JuJu Smith-Schuster at the end of the second quarter. He also threw Smith-Schuster a pass short of the sticks on a crucial fourth down late in the contest.
Smith-Schuster was visibly frustrated.
— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) October 3, 2021
In Roethlisberger's defense, he's been playing through injuries. Roethlisberger was placed on the Steelers' injured list prior to the team's Week 3 game due to a pec injury. The hits have continued to take a toll on Roethlisberger, who sustained a hip injury during Week 4.
The team will monitor Roethlisberger's progress throughout the week. If he's healthy enough to play, Roethlisberger will start in Week 5.
Who can Steelers turn to if Ben Roethlisberger struggles?
If Roethlisberger continues to struggle — or if injuries continue to pile up — Pittsburgh would likely turn to Mason Rudolph. In two seasons, Rudolph has started nine games for the Steelers. He's completed 61.7 percent of his passes and thrown for 15 touchdowns against 10 interceptions.
The Steelers also picked up former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins in the offseason. Haskins has been on the inactive list for each of the team's first four games, so he likely wouldn't get a shot unless both Roethlisberger and Rudolph struggle or get hurt.
Roethlisberger, if healthy, will look to get the Steelers' offense going against the Denver Broncos in Week 5. That could be a big ask, as the Broncos' defense has allowed the fourth-least yards this season.