Ben Roethlisberger is far closer to the end of his career than the beginning and it showed in Week 1. The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback received the worst ranking by Pro Football Focus for quarterbacks in the opening set of games.
But it's early, and the 39-year-old veteran was optimistic about at least one important body part coming out of the week: his reconstructed throwing elbow.
"It feels great," Roethlisberger said Wednesday, via ESPN's Brooke Pryor. "Probably the only part of my body that felt good when I came out of the game. That's encouraging and positive."
Roethlisberger is only two years removed from elbow surgery to reattach three torn flexor tendons in his right elbow. He missed all but the first two games of the 2019 season, and played in every game in 2020.
The rest of his body isn't faring as well.
"Sore. Like I anticipated," Roethlisberger said of how he's feeling days after that first game, via Pryor. "Getting hit for a while, got a lot more bumps and bruises than usual."
The Buffalo Bills officially had six QB hits. The defense carried the Steelers' 23-16 comeback victory after Roethlisberger was 6-for-12 for 57 yards in the first half. He was 18-for-32 for 188 yards and a score by game's end.
Roethlisberger praises Raiders' DE Maxx Crosby
It doesn't get easier for the Steelers and Roethlisberger from here. Next up is the Las Vegas Raiders and defensive end Maxx Crosby, who elicited high praise from Roethlisberger.
They are both from the MAC, with Crosby having attended East Michigan and Roethlisberger at Miami (Ohio).
Q: What surprises you about Maxx Crosby?
Roethlisberger: “Nothing. He’s from the MAC. That’s where the best football players come from. He’s a stud.” pic.twitter.com/RsmyYFPzyd
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 15, 2021
Crosby opened his 2021 campaign with two sacks, two tackles for loss and five quarterback hits in a 33-27 win against the Baltimore Ravens.