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Notebook: Roethlisberger continues to make good decisions

Jerry DiPaola
| Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2004

It's amazing what a victory can do for a team's mindset. It can almost make something as heinous as the Bengals' seven sacks of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seemingly disappear.

A sack is better than an interception, and Roethlisberger had none of the latter in Cincinnati.

"Certainly you don't want to take seven sacks," coach Bill Cowher said, "but there is nothing positive that comes out of that, outside of the fact that I do like the decision-making that Ben did. He did not force the football. You see around the league every week guys going down and trying to throw it away and it turns into seven points."

Cowher said different reasons led to almost every sack.

"At times, we got beat in one-on-one pass protection situations; at times, maybe, we held the ball a little bit; other times, we are trying to get out of the pocket; other times, it was good coverage down the field. It wasn't any one constant that you saw show up that you say, 'We have a little bit of a problem here.' I think that certainly these are things we can correct and, I think, we will correct."

  • Since berating him vehemently on the sideline in Cincinnati, Cowher has been publicly supportive of special teams coach Kevin Spencer.

    With so many injuries to starters, the backups who step into the starting lineup are yanked from special teams, making Spencer's job more difficult.

    "That was an ongoing saga on Sunday," Cowher said. "Kevin Spencer does a great job of having everybody prepared."

    Cowher said some starters may have to play special teams, but he said that won't be a problem. "They all understand how important that is."

    One immediate fallout to Antwaan Randle El replacing wide receiver Plaxico Burress is that Ike Taylor will replace Randle El on kickoff returns. Randle El will continue to return punts.

    Randle El returned seven punts for 83 yards, with a long of 30 and an average of 11.9. Punter Chris Gardocki's net average was 38.6, and he is tied for fifth in the AFC (37.0).

    "He has been very, very consistent," Cowher said. "You know how quick he is (getting the punt off). Special teams took a step forward."


    18 - The AFC-high number of punts that Chris Gardocki has placed inside the 20-yard line.

    6.8 - The average deficit in the Redskins' first six defeats, before their 28-6 loss to the Eagles on Sunday.

    Steel stat

    The Steelers could improve their record to 10-1 Sunday with a victory against the Redskins. They haven't reached that level of success since 1975 when they were 12-1 on the way to their second Super Bowl.

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