It was a tale of two halves for Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers offense in their Sunday night loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Roethlisberger heaved for 224 passing yards and a score in a first half that included four gains of at least 20 yards and three scoring drives. But Big Ben followed the opening act with a poor second half.
The 36-year-old threw for just 50 passing yards in the final frames, leading zero scoring drives in six attempts and throwing a game-sealing interception with three minutes to go. Pittsburgh ran 23 plays in the entire second half for just 47 total yards. Three of those drives yielded zero or fewer yards. On the night, the Steelers converted just two of 11 third-down attempts.
Most unsettling for the Steelers faithful was that Roethlisberger failed to connect with his top wideouts Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster when the offense needed a lift. When targeting the two in the second half, Big Ben was 3-of-8 for 17 yards and an interception.
Roethlisberger shouldered the blame for his inability to connect with Brown and Smith-Schuster.
"I don't think I'm on the same page with anybody right now," Roethlisberger told reporters, per ESPN. "I'm not playing well enough. I need to play better. Today was just a bad day at the office...I promise I'll be back to play better."
Big Ben added that above all he is "frustrated" with himself for the offense's struggles Sunday night.
When asked by NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala about their inabilities to link up, Brown replied repeatedly, "We have to find a way to connect."
Brown finished with 62 yards and a touchdown on five receptions, but the receiver recorded just one reception on six third-down targets. Brown's 272 receiving yards through four games are his fewest in such a span since 2011. He's not even the leading receiver on the team; that honor belongs to Smith-Schuster (416 yards).
Big Ben, Brown and the Steelers (1-2-1) can attempt to right their offensive wrongs next week against an injury-riddled Atlanta Falcons defense. If they can't find a way to move the ball against a team that has surrendered 34.7 points per game over the last three weeks, then it will officially be time to panic in Pittsburgh.