View Full Version : Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shows his toughness

12-09-2011, 06:24 AM
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shows his toughness
Friday, December 09, 2011
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

You watched the players emerge from the tunnel and the warmth of the Steelers locker room. One by one, they returned to the Heinz Field lawn. It was almost time for the second half against the Cleveland Browns Thursday night. You looked up and down the sideline, thinking you might have missed him. But, no, he wasn't there. You saw Charlie Batch warming up, apparently ready to take control of the team again in the second half. But you didn't see Ben Roethlisberger.

Then, suddenly, he was there.

Of course, he was there.

Slowly, limping badly on his left ankle, Roethlisberger walked to where Batch was throwing and took the ball off him. He took a few practice snaps from Doug Legursky -- who would play the second half for injured Maurkice Pouncey -- and gingerly took a few steps back each time. That was enough for coach Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

Roethlisberger would play the second half.

It was the very best part of a surprisingly difficult 14-3 victory.

It's not so much that Roethlisberger played brilliantly in the final two quarters, although he did clinch the win with a 79-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown with 2:52 left. That was all Brown, who caught a short sideline pass and turned it into a touchdown with a couple of great moves and his incredible speed.

To that point in the second half, the Steelers offense had been stymied, although it wasn't all Roethlisberger's fault. One drive was stopped by an illegal hands to the face penalty on guard Chris Kemoeatu. Another produced no points when running back Rashard Mendenhall couldn't get in the end zone despite four carries inside the Cleveland 2. A third drive ended with a Roethlisberger interception.

None of that seemed to matter, though.

All that really counted was that Roethlisberger was able to play.

Was it just me or did it feel like the season was saved?

"He knows the whole team is on his shoulders," injured tackle Willie Colon said of Roethlisberger earlier in the season. "It's going to take a lot to sit him down."

This looked like it might be the injury.

Roethlisberger was hurt midway through the second quarter when he was sacked by Browns defensive tackle Scott Paxson. It was typical of so many of the previous 308 times he had been sacked in his career. He looked downfield. He saw no one open. He stepped up in the pocket. He saw no one open. He moved to his right. Still, he saw no one open. Finally, Paxson closed in, wrapped him around the legs and took him down.

Roethlisberger didn't get up.

His left ankle rolled under him.

Heinz Field grew quiet.

Roethlisberger, who had completed 8 of 9 passes for 102 yards, including one for 11 yards and a touchdown to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery in the first quarter, was helped off the field and taken by cart to the locker room. Batch finished the half, failing to complete either of his two passes.

For many Steelers fans, what followed was the longest halftime of the season. They didn't relax until they saw Roethlisberger limp out of that tunnel. Not that they haven't come to expect it. The guy has played with a broken thumb this season. He played with a broken nose and a broken foot last season.

"I don't want to let my guys down," Roethlisberger has said often. "I can deal with the pain. I'll be out there until they take me off in a cart."

So Roethlisberger finished the game and finished off the Browns. He had trouble reaching his running backs to hand off on that bad ankle but didn't have any fumbles. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 172 yards in the second half, including that beautiful catch-and-run by Brown.

It was Colon who described Roethlisberger best.

"He's just so tough."

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 December 9, 2011 at 12:37 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11343/1195720-87-0.stm#ixzz1g2WDg2NT

12-09-2011, 06:28 AM
Friday, 12.09.2011

Updated Ben story
December 9th, 2011

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is hoping the MRI he is scheduled to take Friday will confirm that he sustained a high-ankle sprain in the Steelers’ 14-3 win over the Browns.

Roethlisberger stayed down in the second quarter after getting hit low by Browns defensive tackle Scott Paxson. He played the entire second half after an X-ray showed no breaks and the Steelers green-lighted his return to the field.

That clearance came after Roethlisberger received one of the biggest scares of his career.
“I thought my leg was broken, honestly,” Roethlisberger said. “One of the most painful things I’ve ever felt. I didn’t want to feel that my foot was outside of my leg.

“The plan on my part was basically to give it one or two more plays and see how I could do it. It wasn’t for any other reason than to be out there for my guys.”

Said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, “The doctors said he was OK to go. He wanted to go. We know what a competitor he is. We know his pain tolerance. We know what he’s capable of.”

Roethlisberger has the benefit of an extended break -– the Steelers don’t play again until a week from Monday in San Francisco -– to get healthy. He said the MRI will help determine the severity of his latest injury and the course of action he needs to take to play against the 49ers on Dec. 19.

Roethlisberger completed 16 of 21 passes for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His 79-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter preserved the Steelers’ 10th win of the season.
Afterward, Roethlisberger limped heavily as he made his way to the shower, stopping to allow Steelers trainer John Norwig to wrap his left ankle in ice.

“People want to hate on him all they want but the guy’s one of the toughest competitors in this game,” Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said.

Keisel said he was “surprised” that Roethlisberger returned at all after going straight from the field to the Steelers’ locker room with six minutes left in the second quarter.

“We came in here and didn’t see during halftime and I think everybody was kind of ready to go out without him and we get out there and he’s taking snaps from (center Doug) Legursky,” Keisel said.
Roethlisberger said the first high ankle injury he has sustained limited his mobility in the second half, and he lauded the job the Steelers offensive line did in protecting him.

“I really couldn’t drop back to pass and really couldn’t step into my throws,” said Roethlisberger, who finished with his highest passer rating of the season at 129.6. “They did such a phenomenal job of kind of keeping me clean. That was my intention of coming back. I wanted to be there for the guys and let them know I’m going to fight for them.”

Asked about his long touchdown pass to Brown, Roethlisberger chuckled.
“I’m glad he scored because I wouldn’t have made it down there if we had to run another play,” he said.

– Scott Brown

12-09-2011, 07:50 AM
under normal circumstances, i would not want our starter to come back in limping like that. But the problem is, we do not have suitable backups.
So it proved true, after that TD pass and the boost in players rallying around the situation, that Ben is invaluable to the team. Think Cutler would have come back in?