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Teammates grouse about Big Ben abuse

The issue of preferential treatment for quarterbacks resurfaced Sunday in the Steelers' 23-7 win over the Bengals at Heinz Field.

At least it did for the Steelers.

Ben Roethlisberger, playing with a broken nose, took several shots to the head yesterday.

After one in the second quarter, Roethlisberger could be seen gesturing and talking to referee Walt Coleman.

"I got the same response that I got last week, that he was just trying to tackle you," Roethlisberger said. "So I just let it go."

Free safety Ryan Clark did anything but that after the Steelers improved to 10-3.

"I already told y'all, they protect everybody's quarterback in the NFL but ours. I don't know how many times I've got to say it," said Clark, who is also the Steelers' union representative. "And they protect the ones we play a lot. I guess they're just scared to step out and say, 'Dang, maybe they are being targeted.' We say it, and we believe it."

The NFL fined Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata $15,000 last week for the hit to the face that broke Roethlisberger's nose but did not draw a penalty.

Roethlisberger wore a shield to protect the nose he had surgically repaired last Monday but ditched it at halftime because of the rain and issues it caused with visibility.

He took a beating again yesterday, getting sacked four times and hit on numerous other occasions.

Roethlisberger, however, said he only sustained a minor ankle injury, one that did not require him to leave the game or put his status for next week's 4:15 p.m. contest against the visiting New York Jets in question.

"The hits that Ben takes every week, it's kind of ridiculous that they always miss those calls," Steelers linebacker James Farrior said, "but any time we breathe on a quarterback, they always seem to find that (call)."

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Steelers vs. Bengals December 12, 2010

Steelers vs. Bengals   December 12, 2010

The Steelers defeat the Bengals, 23-7, Sunday December 12, 2010 at Heinz Field.

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