PITTSBURGH - Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told Channel 11’s Bill Phillips Wednesday that he apologized to head coach Mike Tomlin, offensive coordinator Todd Haley and the Rooneys Monday for his postgame comments following the Steelers loss in Dallas.
Minutes after the game, which ended two plays after he threw a critical interception in overtime, Roethlisberger made it clear he was unhappy that he didn‘t run the no-huddle offense more in the second half. He also was displeased that tight end Heath Miller wasn‘t targeted more in the second half after making six catches in the first half.
Roethlisberger also criticized the initial play call before he and Miller improvised a 30-yard touchdown pass late in the first half, saying it was “a bad call.”
Roethlisberger‘s remarks drew national attention because it was the first time he had gone on record criticizing Haley, who succeeded the quarterback‘s good friend, Bruce Arians, as offensive coordinator this season.
“I actually came in (Monday) and apologized to Todd, apologized to Mike, apologized to Mr. (Dan) Rooney, just because I did let my frustrations jump out after a game,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “I don‘t usually do that, I usually keep it under control, (it was) just frustrations on myself. I‘ll be better at that.”
Haley has not commented because he talks to reporters only once a week, on Thursday. Tomlin on Tuesday dismissed the comments as being heat-of-the-moment remarks in which Roethlisberger vented some “frustrations” at losing.
“I apologized for the storm it created and caused,” Roethlisberger said before the Steelers (7-7) practiced Wednesday in advance of their key AFC North game against the Bengals (8-6) Sunday at Heinz Field.
The Steelers, losers of four of five, must win to stay in playoff contention.
Roethlisberger said he was frustrated by the loss and that his comments were not intended to create a controversy about the Steelers offensive play calling.
Tomlin downplayed the idea Roethlisberger was taking a shot at offensive coordinator Todd Haley in his comments.
"He's on board with what we're doing," Tomlin said of his quarterback.
Maybe, but the Steelers have gotten away from the formula that worked so well for them earlier in the year.
The short passing game that thrived in September and October has disappeared in November and December. Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich have completed just 55 percent (124 of 224) of passes during the team's last six games, down from nearly 70 percent (201 of 288) during the first half of the season.
Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.