Ben-sational against Baltimore
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
Tuesday January 11, 2011

PITTSBURGH — [HIGH-LIGHT]Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t particularly enjoy playing the Baltimore Ravens. But he does like beating them.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

“I hate playing these guys because they are so good, especially on defense,” he said. “As a competitor I like playing them because they’re the best. But I prefer not to go against them because they are that good.”

On Saturday, the Steelers’ star quarterback will make his 11th start against the Ravens when these AFC North rivals meet in a playoff game.

[HIGH-LIGHT]For the most part, Roethlisberger has owned the Ravens … especially when the Ravens start Joe Flacco. Roethlisberger is 8-2 lifetime against the Ravens, including 5-0 going against Flacco.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

“I guess I’m lucky,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s all it is. I don’t think there’s any magic recipe other than I guess I’m lucky.”

On Dec. 5 when Steelers and Ravens last met, Roethlisberger played on a painful sprained foot. Then in the first quarter, his nose was broken after he was hit in the face by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

Roethlisberger didn’t miss a snap, played through the pain of two injuries and helped the Steelers win, 13-10.

Earlier in the year, the Ravens won 17-14 in Pittsburgh as Roethlisberger sat out the final game of a four-game suspension.

“I don’t read too much into those things,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Roethlisberger’s record against the Ravens. “Ben has won a lot of games here, period. So, I don’t think it’s anything that he has over the Baltimore Ravens or anything of that nature.”

[HIGH-LIGHT]Tomlin is right about the Steelers’ record in games Roethlisberger has started. He has a 69-29 record in regular-season games. That’s winning percentage of 70.4 is second only to New England’s Tom Brady (111-32, 77.6) among all active quarterbacks.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

[HIGH-LIGHT]Roethlisberger is also 8-2 in postseason play. One of those eight wins came against Baltimore in the 2008 AFC Championship Game. He’s one of only two active QBs with multiple Super Bowl wins. Brady is the other.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

“I was impressed,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Roethlisberger’s performance last month in Baltimore. “He’s a tough guy.

“I was glad we broke his nose,” Harbaugh added with a laugh. “And I was very impressed that he played through it. Obviously, you can throw very effectively with a broken nose. He proved that. We’re going to try to get after him like we always do. It’s going to be really important. He knows that. That’s the key to stopping him. You’ve got to get him down. You can’t let him extend plays, and when he does extend plays, you’ve got to cover those (receivers). And that’s easier said than done.”

Despite his success against the Ravens, Roethlisberger says he remembers his failures as well. Both his losses to Baltimore came in 2006, the year he suffered a near-fatal motorcycle accident. That’s the only season in which Roethlisberger has failed to lead the Steelers to a winning record.

That’s also the year in which he received a vicious hit from former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott in a 27-0 loss at Baltimore. To this day, Roethlisberger says he’s never been hit harder.

“I don’t like losing,” he said. “I remember my losses.”

Since the Dec. 5 win in Baltimore, the Steelers have not even listed Roethlisberger on their injury reports. He still wears a special shoe to protect his foot, and he wears a clear shield over his face mask to protect his nose. He hasn’t missed a snap this year because of injury.

But considering his record against the Ravens, Roethlisberger knows he’ll be targeted by the Baltimore defense.

“I would expect them to get after us and play the style of football that they always play, and that’s hard-nosed, tough, confusing defense,” he said.

“On defense, every single person and every scheme and everything they do, it just challenges you. I guess, like I said, as a competitor, you like that challenge and you like the competitiveness. But man, they’re good.”

So is the man who plays quarterback for the Steelers.