Roethlisberger Injured Again for Another Key Steelers-Ravens Game?

Ben Roethlisberger has not exactly conjured up memories of Cal Ripken for his durability, but Pittsburgh’s overly dramatic star quarterback actually does not miss too many starts. In his seventh year as the Steelers’ starting quarterback, Roethlisberger has started 103 of his team’s 117 total games during his career, including all 10 in the postseason.

Of the 14 games Roethlisberger did not start, four came due to an unjust suspension by fascist NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the start of this season, two were at the beginning of his rookie season in 2004 before he became the starter, another was in the last game of the 2007 regular season when the Steelers had already clinched a playoff berth and had nothing to play for, and the other seven were due to injury, including one more in 2004, four in 2005, and one each in 2006 and 2009.

Unfortunately, five of those 14 games Roethlisberger did not start came against the Steelers’ top rival, Balitmore, with the Ravens compiling a 5-0 record against Pittsburgh in those contests. In contrast, the Steelers are 7-2 against the Ravens when Roethlisberger starts.

Moreover, the only two losses came in a disastrous 2006 season when Roethlisberger should have been placed on injured reserve for the entire season due to concussion-like symptoms he regularly displayed on the field after his infamous offseason motorcycle accident.

In other words, the formula is simple: Roethlisberger starts and Pittsburgh beats Baltimore. He sits on the bench and the Ravens win.

Many Steeler fans expected that formula to hold true after Pittsburgh’s heartbreaking, 17-14, last-minute home loss to the hated Ravens in week four, which marked the last game of Roethlisberger’s suspension to start this season.

Just wait until Ben comes back and we will get our revenge, most Steeler fans proudly proclaimed. But now with both teams tied atop the AFC North with identical 8-3 records and Pittsburgh set to travel to Baltimore for a Sunday night showdown on national television, Roethlisberger’s status is once again unclear.

While all early reports indicate he will play this Sunday, Roethlisberger sprained a foot in a 19-16 overtime win against the Bills last Sunday, and may be in a walking boot this week and miss practice time.

Roethlisberger was a late scratch from last year’s Monday night showdown at Baltimore due to concussion symptoms resurfacing that had not keep him from practicing all week. As a result, then-third-teamer Dennis Dixon was thrust into his first career start with little notice, playing well for the most part but throwing the game-losing interception in a 23-20 loss on Monday Night Football.

Moreover, the entire Steeelers team seemed to then disintegrate in the midst of a 5-game losing streak after a public spat when star receiver Hines Ward questioned Roethlisberger’s toughness through media. Therefore, I would not be totally shocked if Roethlisberger missed this game, considering his past bad karma against the Ravens.

We should learn more about the status of Roethlisberger’s injury at Mike Tomlin’s weekly press conference later today. But if he starts, history is on the Steelers’ side. And if not, Baltimore is your likely 2010 AFC North champion.

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  • Anonymous

    1. IIRC, Ben was banged up but could have started the Buffalo game in 2004, but they didn’t need it as they were already 14-1.

    2. Ben has won all his games against Baltimore since 2007, but with Santonio. Does Wallace make that 65 yard catch and run in the 2008 playoffs? Does Wallace make the goal line touchdown in the 13-9 game in 2008? I think not. Not yet, anyway.

    3. The Raven-killer I am more concerned about is James Harrison, whose 2007 game on Monday night is the stuff of legends. Will the refs let him play? Will he bring his usual aggressiveness?

    4. In 2008-2009 (four games), Ben is 69/130 (53.1%) against the Ravens for 945 yards, four TDs and two interceptions and a passer rating of 80.45. The four TDs were in four different games. Nothing special in those stats.

    5. In 2008-2009 (four games), Ben was sacked thirteen times for ninety-six yards. He will be sacked at least four tmes Sunday. And, by the way,Haloti Ngata is way better than Kyle Williams.

    • Ted

      Israel, as usual excellent comments and points. I find it hilarious that I do my best to try and avoid mentioning the loss of Santonio in one post (because some posters get irritated when I mention it repeatedly and I do, because the trade was so (A) so dumb and (B) greatly lessened our SB chances and hurt this team). Nevertheless, you bring it up. And yes, Ravens-killer is how to describe Santonio with the Steelers. We may not beat them any of our three times in the 08 season without him making big plays at the most opportune times.

      As for Ben’s passer rating against the Ravens, yes, it is not that good, but it not horrible either and actually decent considering the opposition. The big stat is just .5 interceptions per game. Great info, though.

      Finally, we have never been able to block Ngata, who is now the most dominant and complete interior defensive lineman in the game. Then again, who can block him well? He was a huge factor in the first game this fall. I also now more worried about J. Scott against Suggs, which was not a concern last game with Starks at LT.

      Honestly, I am not picking us to win, but still believe we have a 40-45% shot. It will come down to turnovers and big plays on both sides. Can our secondary keep the much-improved and now deep Ravens WR corps from making them, and do we have someone who can make up for Santonio’s absence against the team where he may be most needed?

      • Anonymous

        “not that good, but it not horrible either” (your term) = “nothing special” (my term)

  • SteelerBill

    Personally I love me some Big Ben and further believe ‘its your time’ Ben. Put this team on your shoulders and win this game…..That said, I do truly hope we put a scheme/game plan in place to beat these guy’s. Same ol’ same ol’ wont’ get it done. We’re too banged up. That said, it’s us against the world, nobody expects us to win, which should make you feel good……


    Injuries are part of the game, let’s deal with it, no Big Ben?, fine, move on, let Byron play and make them adjust to a new offensive style. If a rawer version of Dixon took them to the wire, I believe things can be done. No fear, baby!, this rivalry is very influenced by intangibles, so the whole team must feel that regardles of who the QB is next sunday, we expect them to go and have a cantina brawl, and get that W whatever it takes.

  • Cols714

    I”m nervous about this one. The Steelers OL is just playing terribly right now. Most of it is because of Kemo and Scott. I just don’t see how they can pull this one out after seeing how awful they were vs Buffalo.

    Then again, the Ravens D isn’t all that great either. We need to get some turnovers.

  • GlennW

    There’s no way Ben is missing this game with a sprained foot that he played with (and ran on) this past Sunday. Just no way. If Ben can stand and throw, he’s playing.

  • Bob Costas

    I would expect the Ravens to blitz the be-jesus out of our line. With that in mind, I think a very liberal helping of screens, draws and delays would be in order. Also, short, timing routes but that isn’t the strength of Roethlisberger or any of the WRs (except Ward). I worry about Sanders, Brown and even Wallace on hot reads.

    • Ted

      That would seem to the logical plan, Bob, but Arians’ offense rarely employs screen passes and Ben – as you said – is not good on the hot reads. Plus, the only WR we had who had the quickness, savvy and symmetry to connect with Ben on hot reads was Santonio and he is now a Jet.

    • Mike L

      I am so sick of the bemoaning of the Santonio Holmes trade. Does team chemistry not mean anything? Holmes was given multiple chances by the team and he did not turn things around. There is no way he was going to be given top dollar in a contract next year so if he is not going to be a long term answer why keep him around and hinder the development of Mike Wallace. Also, I hear tons of people saying Mike is not as shifty as Holmes, well guess who a player with awesome speed and good hands is much harder to find than a shifty player. Sanders and Brown both have the athletic ability of Holmes but not the symmetry with Ben, that takes time. Here are two posts to think about…
      Wallace #3 and Holmes #29, and before anyone says but Holmes missed 4 games, this is based on performance not overall numbers.

  • Tony

    just a note to the editor – last yr we played in Baltimore on sunday night, not monday…perhaps if he had the extra day he would have been able to play

  • RoB D

    I think,after Monday, we’ll be fighting for a wild card spot. This team seems to be held together with baling wire and twist ties at the moment along both lines.

    Don’t see how they win although I will be decked out in every piece of Steeler gear I own to live and die with the result.

    • Bob Costas

      Are the Steelers a flawed team? Of course.

      But so are the Ravens. They have been very unimpressive this year.

      The Steelers could definitely win this game. Will they? We’ll just have to watch and see…

  • David

    Rob D, I agree. With all the “Ben owns the Raisins” (thanks EB), “Ben is 5-0 vs. the Raisins” the last 5 games, etc. etc., I think we are still by far and away, underdogs and need to play a turnover-free game to win.

    I believe, but am not optimistic.