View Full Version : No. 7 looms as No. 1 in toughness

11-16-2011, 05:44 AM
No. 7 looms as No. 1 in toughness
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The news out of Houston is not good. Quarterback Matt Schaub has a fractured right foot and will miss the rest of the season. The Texans, who would be the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs if they started today, are left with Matt Leinart -- a first-round draft bust in 2006 -- to guide their team down the stretch.

The news out of Kansas City is not good. Quarterback Matt Cassel could miss the rest of the season with a "significant" right hand injury. The Chiefs, very much alive in the AFC West Division race despite a 4-5 record, must turn to Tyler Palko, who has played sparingly in just four NFL games and thrown 13 passes since leaving Pitt after the '06 season.

The news out of Pittsburgh is not good. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a broken right thumb and is expected to miss ...

Not one game.

Not one play.


Even Roethlisberger's harshest critics have to admit he is as tough as any NFL player. If you want to call him the toughest, you'll get no argument here. It's hard to say with any certainty that he would keep playing with Schaub's injury or Cassel's. But would you bet against him?

"You know me, if I can be out there, I'll be out there," Roethlisberger often has said. "I'm always going to fight for my guys right up to the time they carry me off on a stretcher."

That happened once. It's surprising it hasn't happened a bunch of times, considering Roethlisberger has been sacked 336 times -- including postseason games -- and hit countless other times in his 7 1/2-year career. In the final regular-season game in '08 against Cleveland, he was carted off with a concussion. You might remember him giving the thumb's up signal with his left arm to the Heinz Field crowd. He played two weeks later in the first playoff game and ended up leading the Steelers to the Super Bowl XLIII title, winning the game in the final seconds with a pretty sweet pass to wide receiver Santonio Holmes at the end of a pretty sweet drive.

Roethlisberger has missed just six of 134 games because of injury or illness. There have been many times when we've wondered how he picked himself up off the ground -- or a hospital bed -- to play:

In '06, Roethlisberger had an emergency appendectomy and played against the Jacksonville Jaguars 15 days later. Earlier that summer, he was involved in a serious motorcycle accident.

In '06, Roethlisberger had a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons and played the next week against the Oakland Raiders.

In '06 -- it was a really tough year -- Roethlisberger was sacked nine times in a game at Baltimore, including once by linebacker Bart Scott, who bragged he could feel the air rushing out of the quarterback's body. Roethlisberger finished that game and still says it was the hardest he has been hit.

In '10, Roethlisberger broke his right foot in a game at Buffalo and played the next week at Baltimore.

In that Baltimore game, Roethlisberger broke his nose on a hit by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata early in the first quarter and finished the game, leading the Steelers to a win late in the fourth quarter. "I look like I went 12 rounds with Pacquiao," he said afterward. Much later he said of that night, "What makes me smile about it is I know people from Homestead, McKeesport, places all over the city ... real Steelers fans everywhere were watching and saw the blood all over the place. I hope they said, 'That's our guy. He's one of us. He never came out. He never quit. He's pretty tough.' "

This season, Roethlisberger was sacked five times -- six if you count a play that was nullified by a penalty -- in the game at Houston. Teammates said they could hear him screaming after a hit on his right knee in the fourth quarter. He hobbled out of the stadium that day on crutches with his left foot in a walking boot. He played the next week against Tennessee and threw five touchdown passes.

It is worth repeating:


Starting with that Tennessee game, Roethlisberger has played the best football of his career. It's no coincidence the Steelers went 5-1 in that stretch to take first place in the AFC North Division. In those six games, he threw for more than 300 yards three times and had 13 touchdown passes with just four interceptions. The loss hardly was his fault; his 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Wallace on a fabulous play late in the fourth quarter against Baltimore Nov. 6 gave the Steelers a 20-16 lead. The defense allowed the Ravens to drive 92 yards for the winning score in the final 2 1/2 minutes.

There's no reason to think Roethlisberger won't be just as effective when the Steelers next play Nov. 27 at Kansas City.

A broken thumb on his throwing hand would stop a lot of quarterbacks.

Not this guy.

Ron Cook: rcook@post-gazette.com. Ron Cook can be heard on the "Vinnie and Cook" show weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan. More articles by this author
First published on November 16, 2011 at 12:05 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11320/1190138-87-0.stm?cmpid=cook.xml#ixzz1drs3aiTb

11-16-2011, 07:35 AM
#1 Toughest QB of all time IMHO, #2 Favre. Favre's streak would have never happened with the lack of protection Ben has had plus he never had to face top 5 defenses at least 4 to 5 times every year.

11-16-2011, 09:20 AM
He reminds me so much of the Black Knight in "Holy Grail".

King Arthur: I have no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight. But I must cross this bridge.
Black Knight: Then you shall die.
King Arthur: I command you, as King of the Britons, to stand aside!
Black Knight: I move for no man.
King Arthur: So be it!
[they fight until Arthur cuts off Black Knight's left arm]
King Arthur: Now, stand aside, worthy adversary!
Black Knight: 'Tis but a scratch!
King Arthur: A scratch? Your arm's off!
Black Knight: No, it isn't!
King Arthur: Well, what's that then?
King Arthur: I've had worse.
King Arthur: You liar!
Black Knight: Come on, you pansy!
[they fight again. Arthur cuts off the Knight's right arm]
King Arthur: Victory is mine!
[kneels to pray]
King Arthur: We thank thee, Lord, that in thy mercy -
[cut off by the Knight kicking him]
Black Knight: Come on, then.
King Arthur: What?
Black Knight: Have at you!
King Arthur: You are indeed brave, Sir Knight, but the fight is mine!
Black Knight: Oh, had enough, eh?
King Arthur: Look, you stupid bastard. You've got no arms left!

11-16-2011, 09:36 AM
When I watch the typical drop back, rhythmic passer like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning play the game, I actually appreciate Roethlisberger's style even more. What it comes down to me is not only toughness, but also the will to play with pain and make plays happen when guys that outweigh him by 100 pounds is in his face barreling down on, and around him. He knows exactly what to do in very intense pressured situations and it's a joy to watch how athletic he really is for a big man. Brady, time and time again this season, looks lost out of the pocket. Roethlisberger can beat you with a number of ways and now that he's entering his prime, he's going to beat you with smarts too. VERY SCARY.

11-16-2011, 09:52 AM

Like I've said, if there was a "slugging percentage" for QB's, Ben would lead the league.

11-16-2011, 10:05 AM
I just hope the day never comes where we hear career ending injury, ya have to admit hes takin way to many shots to the body!. Hes already on record for most sacked this year.:doh:

11-16-2011, 12:02 PM
I love Ben's toughness but he is going to be worse off than Bettis was at the end of his career with all the hits he has taken. Bettis can barely walk. The sad thing is that Ben gets hit almost as much or more than any running back on the team. That is a sad, sad situation. I will enjoy however much time he has left but I seriously think the Steelers need to start thinking about drafting a new QB in the next couple of years. Batch and Lefty just don't cut it as regular starters and I don't think Dixon is anything more than Kordell revisited.

11-16-2011, 12:49 PM
Reminds me of the time when Romo missed a few games due to a broken pinky, and I thought to myself.. Ben would have never missed a game. Same with Cutler in last season's NFC Championship.

11-16-2011, 06:52 PM
yea - ain't no way Ben stays out of a game with a broken finger. although - what was Cutler's injury - a knee injury? Not sure what the pain was related with that but Cutler's body language is horrible. If you are going to stay out of the second half of a conference championship and you are really truly hurt and cannot go back under any circumstance - you better sell it, and then over sell it - i'd be forcing some tears and screaming pain - not the blank stair he had on the sideline, uninterested - that's what the problem was

11-16-2011, 07:43 PM
I love Ben's toughness but he is going to be worse off than Bettis was at the end of his career with all the hits he has taken. Bettis can barely walk. The sad thing is that Ben gets hit almost as much or more than any running back on the team.

While I agree that it's time to fix up the problem of getting our QB killed and to keep people from knocking Ben into a oblivion every week, but no way he takes more of a beating than Bettis or ANY rb for that matter. The difference is, is that Ben is a sitting duck and doesn't absorb the full blow like Bettis did or any back does. Bettis would carry the ball on average 25 times a GAME so that means not only getting pounded by 4-5 guys at a time, but also DELIVERING the blow as well and that takes its toll, especially on how big the Bus was in stature. Ben gets knocked around far too often than what any Steelers fan would like, but this is already his 7th season. He's a tough S.O.B and a big one to boot. He's a big boy. Fortunately, he can take the hit.