Roethlisberger Leads Steelers To Victory on One Leg

It was closer than any of us would have liked but the Steelers escaped their Thursday night battle with Cleveland with a 14-3 victory. The real story of the night however was Big Ben Roethlisberger. Towards the end of the first half Ben was tackled trying to extend a play and his lower left leg and upper ankle appeared to buckle. He was limping so badly that he had to be carted to the locker room and it appeared that his season and the Steelers along with it; may be in jeopardy. Luckily the x ray showed no severe damage and miraculously Ben returned to play in the second half!  Is there a tougher player in the league than Big Ben? He was already playing with a fractured thumb; he played with an injured foot earlier in the year and now this. You could see his return ignite the rest of the team as they were only up 7-3 at the half. They came out and they played really hard, they ran the ball pretty well, they protected Ben in the pocket and the defense did everything they needed to do to preserve the game. 

Offensively Big Ben was the man; playing on one leg he was able to complete 17 of 22 passes for 280 yards and 2 TD passes. We had mentioned in our pregame to keep your eye on Antonio Brown as he seems to be unfolding as the top play maker on this team and he proved again why that may be true. With the game still in jeopardy with 3 minutes to play, the black and gold had the ball on their own 21 and Big Ben found AB for a big pass play in which Brown put on the moves, put on the burners and was gone, putting the team up 14-3 and icing the game. For the game Brown had 5 catches for a career high 151 yards.  Brown is a true threat and if the opposition wants to double up on Mike Wallace then Brown will make plays all day long. It’s nice to have a dual threat like that.  The rushing attack did its part for the most part as Rashard Mendenhall ran 18 times for 76 yards and Isaac Redman added 6 carries for 35 more yards.  We did see one area of concern however and that’s in the goal line set.  With the ball on the 3 yard line with first and goal to go, the Steelers decided to run the ball up the middle four times and could not punch it in.  Mind you, they were only up 7-3 at the time and a FG would have put them up a TD.  Now, we aren’t question the 4th and goal decision, we agreed with going for it. We do question the play calling and also worry about the inability to punch it in. Obviously Ben’s injury played a part and limited what play calls could be utilized but in all honesty it’s unacceptable to not score there. 

With the rival Browns keeping it closer than comfort would allow some of the warnings we put out their in the pre game were coming true and it was heart stopping some of the time. We had mentioned that one of the ways the Steelers could hurt themselves was by turning the ball over. Not only did they turn it over 3 times, but two of them were in the red zone. They took points away from themselves. Playing better teams than the Browns and doing that will cause a much worse outcome. That needs to be improved. The good news here, it was Hines Ward and Heath Miller who committed the errors and those two rarely do that.  We had also mentioned that the Steelers needed to stay focused and at times you could question if they were. They committed a staggering 12 penalties totaling 97 yards. That’s another sure fire way of losing a big game. They were very lucky it didn’t wind up costing them this one. Several of those penalties were committed by Marcus Gilbert and Chris Kemeoutu.  They’d be running laps tomorrow if we were coaching.

While Big Ben was a stud so was the defense as they limited the Browns to 3 points, putting up a goal line stand to start the game and intercepting Colt McCoy late in the 4th only up 7-3 to preserve the game.  Ryan Clark led the team with 10 tackles and Jason Worilds added 9 with 2 sacks. Harrison and Troy were all over the field as well and while there were times where the team bent a little bit and let the Browns move the ball, they never broke. They stepped up and they got the job done.

The team now has about 10 days off before heading west to play San Fran on Monday 12/19. They’ll need to rest up, prep up and keep the wins coming if they want a shot at this AFC North title.

This Week’s News, Notes and Superlatives:

Stars of the Game-Ben Roethlisberger: Did you even doubt this. Playing on one leg, the man throws for 280 yards and 2 TD’s.

The entire Defense: They allowed only 3 points and stepped up in the Red zone a few times.

Unacceptable play of the game: With the Browns facing a 3rd and 20 in their own area in the first half they ran a draw play to just gain a few yards to punt. You knew it was coming, the crowd knew, the announcers, everyone, except the Steelers. They gave up 28 yards! Unacceptable.

Notes:  Hines Ward caught 1 ball moving him to 991 for his career. With 3 games left he needs to average 3 catches a game to get to that 1,000 goal of his. Can he do it? We thought yes coming in to this game but now we think it’s going to be really close.

Mike Tomlin stated Ben has a high ankle sprain, Pouncey has a high ankle Sprain and Polamalu has a tweaked hamstring.

A win’s a win and rest is rest. 10-3, up next at San Francisco.



One Comment on "Roethlisberger Leads Steelers To Victory on One Leg"

  1. longarm on Tue, 13th Dec 2011 1:56 pm 

    You have to hand it to Big Ben he plays the game the way they did in the50’s he is one tough guy. I still think it was a mistake to go for the TD instead of the Field Goal. That decesion could have cost them the game and Tomlin was lucky it didn’t.