Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger, Polamalu pick up awards
Ben Roethlisberger on Wednesday was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November after leading the Steelers into the playoff picture with three consecutive victories.
Another Steeler also was recognized: Troy Polamalu was chosen as AFC Defensive Player of the Week after forcing two fumbles during a 27-11 victory Sunday at Cleveland.
Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback in his 10th season, had never won an offensive player of the month award until now. He was recognized for completing 97 of 157 passes for 1,188 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions while leading the Steelers to a 3-1 record over the past month.
He was chosen as AFC Offensive Player of the Week two weeks ago after directing the Steelers to a 37-27 win over Detroit in which he threw four touchdown passes. It was the ninth time he won the weekly award.
Roethlisberger is the first Steeler to take home a player of the month award since linebacker LaMarr Woodley was chosen as defensive player of the month in October 2011.
This is the seventh time Polamalu has been selected as defensive player of the week. He had four tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery against the Browns.
It marked the third time in his career that Polamalu had at least one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in the same regular-season game.
Polamalu last was chosen for the award in the final week of the 2011 season.
• The no-huddle is helping the Steelers protect Ben Roethlisberger, and coach Mike Tomlin is hinting there might be more five-receiver sets because they serve the same purpose. “It usually makes defenses have to declare who's blitzing and who's not because you've got five guys out and they've got to cover some people,” Roethlisberger said. “You can send a couple of them deep and a couple of them short so that you can kind of have the time and the decisions to make.”
• The Ravens have allowed only one rushing touchdown this season, so linebacker Terrell Suggs appeared to take exception when asked about the challenge Steelers rookie Le'Veon Bell presents. “We've got to play him with patience before we can try to tee off on a good back,” Suggs said. “We've only allowed one rushing touchdown, so maybe you all need to do a little more research.”
• The Ravens are playing their second Thanksgiving night home game in three seasons. They beat the 49ers, 16-6, in the John Harbaugh vs. Jim Harbaugh game in 2011. They are 10-1 in November home games since 2008.
• Right guard David DeCastro likes the approach the Steelers are taking by refusing to look at past games or ahead to future ones. “(It's) sticking together and staying confident and approaching every week like we have before,” he said. “Not getting too overjoyed. We're confident, but we're not like, ‘Yeah, we are doing really well' because we're still 5-6.”
• Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco isn't surprised Polamalu is becoming a game-changing playmaker again. “Troy can run around in the back end and make some plays,” said Flacco, who was intercepted by Polamalu for a touchdown in the 2008 season AFC title game. “He can get up around the line of scrimmage where he likes to be and get involved in the run game. The biggest thing with these guys is they're physical, they get after the quarterback, and they stop the run.”
• Suggs said Roethlisberger is the most difficult NFL quarterback to bring down. When it happens, Suggs said, “It's something I really take pride in, and I'm really happy (about it).” Haloti Ngata said of Roethlisberger: “He's just great at loose play, really. He's just hard to tackle, and then he's just able to find some receivers and throw the ball. He's just a great quarterback that way.”