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Thread: Big Ben's guts lift Steelers past Ravens

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    Default Big Ben's guts lift Steelers past Ravens

    Big Ben's guts lift Steelers past Ravens

    It was a tough game as evidenced by the blood on Big Ben's jersey.
    By Alex Marvez Dec 6, 2010 3:14 AM ET

    With his nose smashed and fractured foot in a walking boot, Ben Roethlisberger now knows how Antonio Margarito felt after being pummeled in a recent high-profile boxing match.

    “I look like I just went 12 rounds with (Manny) Pacquiao,” the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback quipped after Sunday night’s 13-10 victory over the host Baltimore Ravens.

    The difference between Roethlisberger and Margarito? Roethlisberger scored a knockout.

    A 9-yard touchdown pass to running back Isaac Redman with 2:51 remaining spelled the difference in a game featuring the kind of blows that have established Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh as the NFL’s hardest-hitting rivalry. Already forced to wear an oversized shoe to protect an old foot injury he aggravated last week, Roethlisberger had his nose broken on Pittsburgh’s sixth offensive snap when Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata’s hand penetrated the quarterback’s face mask. Blood flowed down Roethlisberger’s face, staining his white No. 7 jersey and forcing him to receive treatment from trainers who tried to bend his nose back into shape.

    “I just knew it was bleeding,” Roethlisberger said. “When I got to the sideline, I could tell by the look on everyone’s face that something wasn’t right.”

    For most of the game, neither were the Steelers (9-3). The Ravens (8-4) never trailed until the end and had a chance to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter. But on a second-and-5 from the Ravens 43-yard line, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco dropped to pass when Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was blitzing. Polamalu admittedly expected a running play but didn’t hesitate to make a beeline for Flacco when left unblocked.

    “I just saw his back turned,” Polamalu said. “I felt like I saw the ball come down. ... The ball just came out.”

    Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley collected the fumble and returned it 19 yards to the Ravens 9. That’s when Roethlisberger took charge.

    On first down, Roethlisberger somehow wrestled himself away from Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs to throw an incompletion and avoid what seemed a sure-fire sack. After another incompletion, Roethlisberger again dropped to pass from an empty set. Aligned in the slot, Redman caught a quick slant. He broke away from Ravens safety Dawan Landry’s tackle attempt and spun into the end zone after being hit by outside linebacker Jarret Johnson near the goal line.

    “They blitzed everybody,” Roethlisberger said. “I tried to remind Isaac that, ‘Hey, It’s coming to you.’ He did the rest himself.”

    It was fitting that an obscure third-string running back like Redman would shine on a chilly night when injuries forced the Steelers into some unusual personnel and strategic decisions. Tight end Heath Miller was sidelined with a concussion during the third quarter, leaving the Steelers with one tight end. Kicker Shaun Suisham was forced to punt when Daniel Sepulveda tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Trai Essex finished the game at right tackle on a patchwork offensive line after Flozell Adams sprained his ankle. And the Steelers unveiled a truncated shotgun formation — i.e. “the pistol” — because Roethlisberger was struggling to drop back from under center.

    Unable to complete a full practice last week, Roethlisberger admitted his foot “hurt a lot” before smiling and saying, “The broken nose took some of the pain away.”

    The Ravens should be sore about this loss for some time to come. Baltimore squandered the chance to take control of the AFC North against a battered opponent with a one-legged quarterback. It was also disturbing to see Flacco falter in crunch time. On fourth-and-2 from the Steelers 31, Flacco’s final attempt was a short-hopped throw to tight Ed Dickson that would have given Baltimore a first down.

    “I felt like we gave this game away,” said Flacco, who was limited to 87 second-half yards on 8-for-19 passing.

    The Steelers will gladly accept such charity, especially after suffering a Week 4 loss to the Ravens in Pittsburgh. That was the final contest Roethlisberger was forced to miss while serving his four-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

    Since then, Roethlisberger has gone 6-2 as a starter while winning over teammates like wide receiver Hines Ward who weren’t fans of his “Big Ben” persona gone amuck.

    “He’s a warrior. That’s why I love everything about him,” Ward said. “I know when he’s on the field, he gives us a great chance to win.”

    Even when beaten and battered by a Suggs-led Ravens defense.

    “One time I looked at (Suggs) and he was bleeding from the mouth,” Roethlisberger said. “I was bleeding from the nose. That’s what this game is about, really.

    “We find ways to make it happen. Sometimes, it isn’t pretty. Look at me. But we get it done.”

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    Default Re: Big Ben's guts lift Steelers past Ravens

    Hey, don't you know ? Ben is soft. Just ask TO and all those strong healthy winners he surrounds himself each season.

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    Default Re: Big Ben's guts lift Steelers past Ravens

    That was a very 08-like win.

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    Default Re: Big Ben's guts lift Steelers past Ravens

    this was one of the best pass incompletions I've ever seen Ben throw...

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