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Old 10-08-2007, 12:41 AM   #1
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Default Smizik: Ben back to 05 form

Big Ben's back to Super Bowl form of 2005
Monday, October 08, 2007
By Bob Smizik, The Associated Press

If doubt remained after four games about which Ben Roethlisberger showed up to play quarterback for the Steelers this season -- and in the minds of some, it did -- those qualms were erased on an early October afternoon with temperatures mindful of mid-August. But forget the month and consider the year. Roethlisberger played like it was 2005.

This was the poised leader who led the Steelers to the Super Bowl championship. This was the quarterback who unfailingly seemed to make something out of nothing. This was the passer who made all the right decisions.

In a superb 21-0 win yesterday against the Seattle Seahawks, where, obviously, the defense was stunningly excellent, Roethlisberger held up his end of the deal. He completed 18 of 22 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown, which is awfully good.

But this is better: In the second half, when the game was decided, he was perfect, going 9 for 9 for 118 yards as he guided the Steelers to two touchdowns.

The quarterback who threw for 23 interceptions and 18 touchdowns in a massively disappointing 2006 season has vanished. Whatever it was that stopped Roethlisberger last season -- injury, illness or just one of those years -- has not been discernible in 2007.

In five games, he has thrown nine touchdown passes and three interceptions, which puts him on pace for a 29 touchdown, 10 interception season, which is Pro Bowl, to say nothing of all-pro, worthy.

What is even more striking about Roethlisberger's performance against the Seahawks, a perennial playoff team, is that it was accomplished without his two best receivers. The absence of Hines Ward, the Steelers all-time leader in receptions, was not a surprise. He missed his second consecutive game with a knee bruise. But the failure of Santonio Holmes to play was a shocker. Holmes, who has become the Steelers' primary deep threat, injured his hamstring in pregame workouts and was a very late scratch.

It made no difference, although the Steelers were down to three wideouts, starters Nate Washington and Cedric Wilson and backup Willie Reid.

Wilson caught five balls for 69 yards, Washington three for 26 and Reid one for 25.

"We had the opportunity today," Washington said. "It was the opportunity to come out and show when one guys goes down, it doesn't matter. It was an opportunity to show Hines and Santonio aren't all we have. Me, Cedric and Willie took great pride in showing the rest of the city and the rest of the league those guys aren't all we have."

It took Roethlisberger and the offense a bit of time to get in synch. The game was scoreless until Roethlisberger threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller with two minutes remaining in the first half.

"In the first half, we were pretty disappointed," Roethlisberger said. "Our defense was shutting them down, three and out, and we'd go three and out. That's frustrating. It took us awhile to get going. That's a credit to Seattle defense. Once we got a handle on it, we got to be on the field a long time and give our defense a break."

The Steelers controlled the ball for the first 10 minutes, 17 seconds of the third quarter as they moved 80 yards in 17 plays, with three holding penalties significantly curtailing their progress. But with Roethlisberger completing all six passes he threw, the Steelers were not to be stopped.

"Coach Tomlin told us to put our foot on their throat," Washington said. And that, for certain, is what they did. After the Seahawks went three and out, the Steelers held the ball for 8:06 as the moved 85 yards in 13 plays -- with Roethlisberger going three for three for 45 yards -- for another score.

Much is made of the Steelers emphasis on the run, and that was there again yesterday as Willie Parker ran for 102 yards on 28 carries and Najeh Davenport added 58 on seven carries. But no one should take that to mean the quarterback has anything approaching a secondary role this season.

This was the 23rd time in his career Roethlisberger had a passer rating over 100. In those games, the Steelers are 23-0.

The team's loss last week at Arizona, when Roethlisberger played his worst game of the season, was a motivation yesterday.

"The whole offense felt we needed to respond after last week," Roethlisberger said. "We were embarrassed. We felt terrible about the way we performed."

There will be similar days in the future simply because this is the NFL.

But what we'd come to believe through four games and what was hammered home yesterday is this: Big Ben's back.

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Old 10-08-2007, 01:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Smizik: Ben back to 05 form


I am glad the press is starting to catch on to what we already know
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Old 10-08-2007, 03:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Smizik: Ben back to 05 form

It was good to see ben playing well he threw a strike just about everytime and also to see wilson,washington and reid finally step it up this definatly looked like the steelers of 05.
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