Roethlisberger brings toughness to Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger seemingly thrives on adversity. The Steelers quarterback has been on the field when others probably would spend game day icing stressed muscles or resting aching joints.
In October, Roethlisberger limped onto Heinz Field with an ailing foot to face fired-up Tennessee a week after getting pummeled in a ragged defeat at Houston. The Steelers humbled the Titans, 38-17, even as Roethlisberger hobbled in and out of the huddle.
On Sunday in Cincinnati, he broke his right thumb midway through the third quarter. The Steelers escaped with a 24-17 victory over the Bengals, who had been atop the AFC North.
Roethlisberger orchestrated an 81-yard scoring drive with his most reliable receiver, Hines Ward, on the bench. He did it even though the offensive line allowed the Bengals to sack him five times for the second time in three games.
"Ben is a tough guy mentally and physically," guard Ramon Foster said. "A lot of quarterbacks show their emotions, but with him you might only see a grimace whether he gets hit or breaks a thumb."
Roethlisberger, who has been sacked an AFC-high 31 times, didn't flinch on the winning drive. He took a couple of heavy blows to his banged-up body but maintained his focus.
"The way I play the game, a lot of those sacks are on me," Roethlisberger said Wednesday. "It's my fault because I hold the ball and try to make plays."
Still, until the offensive line discovered some continuity a month ago, it was peppered with criticism. It couldn't run block. It couldn't pass block.
The offensive front is last in the AFC in efficiency. Only St. Louis' line has given up more sacks (32).
Despite those unimpressive numbers, Roethlisberger is having what Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis called "one of his best seasons ever." Roethlisberger needs only 123 passing yards to reach 3,000. His touchdown-to-interception ratio of 16-9 isn't anything to brag about, but he's completing 63.3 percent of his throws, and the Steelers are 7-3 — a surprising start considering they stumbled out of the gate with a 35-7 loss in Baltimore.
"He's just a great quarterback," guard Doug Legursky said. "He's been able to stay calm no matter what happens. If it's successful for him, it's success for our offense."
"I don't make excuses, and I'm not going to complain about anything," Roethlisberger said. "I went in and grab those guys four or five weeks ago and reminded them that I'll always stand up for them."
Roethlisberger has led by example. He has played hurt and shouldered much of the blame when the Steelers came up short.
"After the first game, everyone counted us out," said Roethlisberger, who threw three interceptions and fumbled twice in that loss to the Ravens. "We just laughed because it was too early. We're not sitting where we want to be, but we're in a good spot. We're slowly working our way to the top."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out
- Steelers lookahead: Colts QB Luck becoming one of NFL’s elite
- Steelers’ defense rebounds after shaky 1st quarter, forces Texans into mistakes
- Steelers dial up 2-point play for Brown’s TD toss
- Rookie Bryant sparks deep passing game for Steelers in victory
- Steelers notebook: Adams replaces concussed Gilbert
- Rossi: Steelers’ season all about going big
- Steelers use 3 late first-half TDs to stun Texans
- For all but 2 minutes vs. Steelers, Texans played ‘pretty good game’
- Steelers seeking solutions for scoring problems in red zone
- Texans coach O’Brien still cherishes time at Penn State