(AP) Roethlisberger: “We’re worst team in the league’
By STEPHEN WILSON
AP Sports Writer
With the Pittsburgh Steelers off to their worst start in 45 years, Ben Roethlisberger isn’t mincing words about where the team stacks up against the rest of the NFL.
With Roethlisberger sacked five times and harassed all day by Jared Allen and the Vikings, the Steelers dropped to 0-4- their worst start since 1968 when they lost their first six games en route to a 2-11-1 record.
Roethlisberger, who has won two Super Bowls with Pittsburgh, acknowledged this is the lowest point of his career.
With a bye week before facing the New York Jets, and mainly pride left to play to play for, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin put players on notice that jobs could be at stake.
The challenge resonated with Roethlisberger.
Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel, starting in place of the injured Christian Ponder, finished 16 of 25 for 248 yards and two touchdowns as Minnesota won its first game after three straight losses. Adrian Peterson ran for 140 yards on 23 carries _ including two touchdowns _ and Greg Jennings had two TD catches.
Roethlisberger completed 36 of 51 for 383 yards and one touchdown, but also had one interception and a fumble. The fumble came in the final seconds after he led the Steelers from their 22 to a first-and-goal and potential tying TD at Minnesota’s 6 yard line.
On third down, he was sacked by Everson Griffen and Chad Greenway stripped the ball. Kevin Williams recovered with 19 seconds left to seal Minnesota’s victory.
Roethlisberger hurt the index finger on his right throwing hand while completing a 15-yard TD pass to Jerricho Cotchery in the fourth quarter. He had the finger taped after the game but said it wasn’t serious.
Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell made his regular-season debut for the Steelers and ran for two scores and 57 yards on 16 carries. Wide receiver Antonio Brown had 12 catches for 88 yards and Cotchery had 103 yards on four receptions.
The Steelers’ defense gave up nearly 400 yards and again came up without a turnover. Pittsburgh is without a single takeaway this season.
This was the seventh time the NFL has played a regular-season game in London. The Jacksonville Jaguars will play the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 27.
Asked whether he’d support the idea of having a fulltime NFL franchise in London, Roethlisberger was less enthusiastic.