OK, Big Ben. Time to retire.
No, not because you threw an interception that cost your team the game last week in a disappointing loss to Denver. That can happen to any quarterback.
But good quarterbacks say: “That’s on me, I have to do better.”
And in the past, he had the sense to do that. But this time, he blamed everybody but the guy who fills the Gatorade cups.
Pouncey blocked his man too far into the end zone ... Antonio Brown didn’t run his route right ... The sun was in my eyes. (OK, maybe not the last one.)
Quarterbacks make the big bucks in this league. And to keep the respect of your team, you publicly take the blame even when it’s not your fault. Then you talk about it in the locker room.
But it’s not just football. It’s the mantra of every manager in every business: “Praise in public; criticize in private.”
So maybe this week Pouncey will make up for it by not blocking at all when No. 7 drops back to pass. Or maybe AB will just walk through his route. That way Roethlisberger won’t be able to blame them.
Of course that won’t happen because these guys are pros. And they know that sometimes people say things when emotional about a loss. But that pick was clearly Big Ben’s fault. The play got off to a bad start when he was kind of bobbling the ball and then things got worse.
The question is, can they recover? This is a big game tonight against the tough Los Angeles Chargers led by a red-hot Philip Rivers.
I see a high-scoring affair, with the Chargers winning 33-30. Big Ben will pass for 420 yards, but throw an interception with 30 seconds to go and blame a fan in the third row.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns are turning into a pretty solid football team. But I had to laugh when people say they are now in contention for the playoffs despite a 4-6-1 record. Even if they win out the chances are slim.
Today they face a difficult task – trying to stop the Houston Texans.
Houston has won 8 straight games, but you know what they say about win streaks. The more you win, the better the odds you will lose.
The Browns are a confident – no, make that cocky – team right now and that is because of quarterback Baker Mayfield. He is an ultimate competitor and a great team leader.
Cleveland demolished the Bengals last week, although they got a bit conservative in the second half. That won’t happen this week.
The Texans lost the first three games of the season before the current win streak. But the schedule has been kind to that team.
This game will be a battle to the finish, but the Browns are capable of winning although I would feel better if it were at home. Still, I see Cleveland pulling out a 27-24 victory and really stir up playoff dreams (at least for next year).
Last week my picks went 9-3 for a season mark of 97-63. Following are the rest of this week’s picks (betting line in parentheses just for fun):
Miami (-5 1/2) over Buffalo
Atlanta (plus 1 1/2) over Baltimore
Cincy (plus 4) over Denver
LA Rams (-10) over Detroit
Chicago (-4) over NY Giants
Green Bay (-14 1/2) over Arizona
Kansas City (-15) over Oakland
Seattle (-10) over San Fran
Tampa (plus 3 1/2) over Carolina
Indy (-4) over Jacksonville
New England (-6) over Minnesota
Tennessee (-9 1/2) over NY Jets
Philly (- 6 1/2) over Washington
LYNN SATERNOW is sports editor of The Herald and The Allied News. He can be reached at email@example.com.