Offensive quotebook

Offensive quotebook

<b>PITTSBURGH -</b> The Steelers beat the New York Jets, 17-6, to extend their winning streak to 11 games and improve to 12-1.

They did it with rookie sensation Ben Roethlisberger playing his poorest game to day. He finished with a passer rating of 33.6 but came through with a big pass to Lee Mays in the fourth quarter that iced the win. Following are the quotes from the offensive stars and coaches:

LEE MAYS
Saving that play?
No, not particularly. Coach Whis just made the right call at the right time.

Because Buckley had jumped previous routes?
Yeah. He's an aggressive corner, and if you're an aggressive corner you're going to guess on some routes.

Did Ben have an off day?
Everyone has their - I wouldn't say off - days. They were a tough defense. They schemed well; they played hard. That wasn't an off day. That was a battle.

Was he showing any frustration?
No. Not at all. He was always poised, always patient. He wanted to make plays happen and the last three or four minutes he did.

Did you lead the "Who Ride"?
No. Joey broke it down. It's always Joey.

Didn't you do it last week?
I know.

Are you a fourth-quarter guy?
I wouldn't say that, man. I'm just trying to make plays for my team when they need to be made.

How does it feel to be making big plays?
I can't describe it. I mean, you see me over here stuttering my words, shaking a little bit. I mean, for your quarterback to have confidence to ask you to make big plays. Also, I didn't think that ball was going to come down fast enough. I was like, please come down, man. But he made a great throw.

TOMMY MADDOX
Did you have any words of advice for Ben today?
You're going to have games like that. You play 16 games in an NFL season and they're not all going to go great. I told him to keep in there and it'll come, and he made a couple plays on that last drive.

HINES WARD
Was Ben shaky today?
I don't know if it was him being shaky. We all could do better. You've got to tip your hat off to their defense. I know the one pick he threw to me Donnie Abraham just guessed inside. I was trying to save him from getting a clean pick. Their defense was solid. You've got to tip your hat off. They played great overall defense. You can't talk enough about Jerome. He did a helluva job. All the credit really goes to Jerome. Today he was the main reason why we won.

JEFF HARTINGS
Was Ben frustrated today?
No. I think as an offense we were a little frustrated going into halftime. We were getting different looks than we got during the week and we had to make some adjustments. I think finally in the fourth quarter we figured it out.

Did it have to do with them jumping in and out of a 3-4?
It wasn't really a 3-4. It was more like a 3-5. They were basically daring us to pass the ball. Finally in the fourth quarter we hit some passes to open it up a bit. I think that made them think twice, at least on that first touchdown drive. We got them out of it and then we were able to run the ball.

MARK WHIPPLE
On Ben's game today:
I don't know if he struggled. We just played our style and he comes alive in the fourth quarter when the game's on the line. The Jets have a good defense. He didn't really turn it over. I mean the one before the half, and then the corner made a good play on the skinny. The ball got batted. After that it didn't affect him.

After he steps up into the pocket he'll jerk back out. Is that when he gets in trouble with sacks?
Somewhat. You know, as long as he's not throwing the ball to the other guy. Sacks are better than that. The best thing about him is he keeps his composure and demeanor. All he's about is winning, getting the W.

Did you talk to him at halftime?
No, no, no. Just a couple things there and a couple throws. All it takes is one throw and all of the sudden you're back into it. We'd rather not have him wait until the fourth quarter, but whatever it takes.

KEN WHISENHUNT
A little different philosophy with trick plays this year?
When it works it's good. When those kinds of things work it's good. And I think you've got to be able to do some of those things. Maybe it's me being a rookie coordinator, just not feeling comfortable with the situations to call them, but this time it was the right time to call it and it worked. I think you always have to do those kind of things because they start to creep up on you, and in certain situations you've got to be able to have some kind of thing to get you out of it.

Why do you seem to pull out big drives when you have to, but not before?
I think it all started back in training camp when we said we were going to commit to the run game. We talked about it before the game. We had to be patient. We knew this was a very good defense and that it's going to take some time. It seems like that's what we've done all year. And then we've also had guys step up and make plays, especially late in the game like Lee Mays on the long pass. It's not just one guy. It's a different guy every week and that's I think a big part of our success.

Were you waiting to call that big pass to Mays?
Yeah. We knew in that down and distance, and especially since they were sitting on us a little bit earlier in the game. But the biggest play that set that up was when Danny caught the checkdown and got us into that distance, that third-and-medium distance. That was one of the plays we had targeted that would potentially have a chance there. I tell you what, Coach Cowher is great because he doesn't have any hesitation to call one of those things in that situation. He gives me the freedom to call it. That time it worked, so it was good.

Was the pump fake that good?
I think it was probably because we'd been successful in that down and distance throwing the slants. Plax caught a bunch; Lee caught one last week. You've got to be able to change it up a little bit, and in that situation, the slant-and-go, we thought they may try to jump it.

Were both touchdowns set up by running counters all day?
Well, the touchdown pass was definitely set up because that play's been very successful for us the last four years. It's been one of our signature plays and people have really started to play it lately by stacking guys up and bringing the safeties down in the box. So coach Hoak said on Friday this is what we should do. We targeted the play early as a short-yardage play, a third-and-1 or a third-and-2 play. But then coach Cowher and I discussed it late in the week and figured in the red zone that would be a good play too, especially third down and that same distance. That's where we've really had success running that play.

Was the deep play to Mays Ben's best pass?
He put it out there. That was the kind of throw we needed and Lee went and got it. You know, he got warmed up as the game went on. He made some good throws for us. We were slow starting today and a lot of that was their defense.

How would you sum up Ben's game?
Well, in the fourth quarter and third quarter, he was there for us. He made some big throws. I would sum up his game as being a big-time player in the situation where we needed it, like last week in the two-minute he stepped up. He's still a little sore from last week and that might have hampered him a little bit early but boy when the situation was tight he was big.

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