Big Ben not apologizing for 12 interceptions

PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger makes no apologies for his 12 interceptions, tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick for second-most in the NFL.

Shooters shoot.

“I’m a quarterback that is going to go out and sling it,” said Roethlisberger on his weekly radio show Tuesday.

Roethlisberger is putting up prolific numbers for the 7-3-1 Steelers, ranking second in the league with 3,664 passing yards and tied for seventh with 24 touchdowns. But he isn’t afraid to take chances, resulting in 55 interceptions in 52 regular season games dating back to 2015.

He’s one of five quarterbacks with at least 50 interceptions during that span, including Jacksonville JaguarsBlake Bortles (59 in 57 games), Tampa Bay BuccaneersJameis Winston (55 in 51), New York GiantsEli Manning (50 in 58) and Sunday’s opponent in Heinz Field, Los Angeles ChargersPhilip Rivers (50 in 59).

But Roethlisberger has the best record by far among that bunch, going 37-14-1 in those games, with 102 touchdowns.

The Steelers were in control Sunday in Denver with 527 offensive yards but lost 24-17 after Broncos nose tackle Shelby Harris intercepted Roethlisberger at the goal line with 1:03 left. Roethlisberger wasn’t counting on Harris being near the ball, but the lineman got blocked back into the end zone. Corner Chris Harris was in the line of the ball while covering Antonio Brown, and Roethlisberger said he told Brown he needed to run a “flatter” route to avoid getting undercut.

On an interception to Harris earlier in the game, Roethlisberger said Brown was being held.

Coach Mike Tomlin said he’s concerned with his team’s minus-7 turnover ratio the last two weeks but not with Roethlisberger’s decision-making.

“Ben is just part of it. He’s not solely responsible for our inability to maintain possession of the ball,” Tomiln said. “He wasn’t carrying the ball into the end zone and fumbling it for a touchback. He just needs to continue to be thoughtful about the preservation of the ball, like he always is, and understand the responsibility that comes with being our signal caller. I don’t see any issues in that area. But us, collectively, need to do a better job.”

The Steelers’ other two turnovers in Denver came off Xavier Grimble and James Conner fumbles.

Roethlisberger also delivered a revealing quote Tuesday on his original goal-line plans, which did not include Brown.

The Steelers ran a fade for JuJu Smith-Schuster on first down, and Roethlisberger wanted to revisit that play on third down.

“I think we should have went to (Smith-Schuster) four straight plays,” Roethlisberger said.

Brown draws much attention from opposing defenses, and Smith-Schuster has capitalized with 1,055 yards and 77 catches, which lead the team. Brown has 71 catches for 874 yards and 11 touchdowns.

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