Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger seeks elusive 300-yard game in Baltimore
Ben Roethlisberger ended one personal streak last season in Baltimore when he won at M&T Bank Stadium for the first time in six tries when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 26-9.
He will try to snap another Sunday when the Steelers make their annual visit to Charm City.
In a career that is in its 15th season, Roethlisberger hasn’t had a 300-yard passing game in Baltimore. His personal best of 280 passing yards was achieved in 2011.
Roethlisberger has a 3-6 record in 10 career games at Baltimore. He has missed four because of injury. He has completed 57.8 percent of his passes and thrown 13 interceptions against just nine touchdown passes. His career passer rating in Baltimore is a pedestrian 70.2, and he has been sacked 29 times in those 10 games.
“It’s a tough place to play,” Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said. “They have great fan support. It’s loud. They get excited. The snap count is always and issue. We’ve had some very big games there in my past 12 years here. It’s a very exciting place to go.”
For two teams that pride themselves on getting to the quarterback, the Steelers and Ravens didn’t uphold tradition when they met five weeks ago.
The Steelers recorded two sacks and the Ravens one in Baltimore’s 26-14 victory at Heinz Field.
Each quarterback -- the Ravens’ Joe Flacco and Roethlisberger -- was hit just twice. It was a wonder they bothered having their uniforms washed after the game.
The rematch Sunday will provide a chance for the Steelers and Ravens to prove that late September game was an aberration. The Ravens’ 27 sacks are the most in the NFL. The Steelers are tied for second with 24.
To no surprise, Terrell Suggs leads the Ravens with 5 1/2 sacks. Za’Darius Smith also has 5 1/2 sacks. They are tied for No. 14 in the individual rankings, an indication the Ravens are getting sacks from many contributors.
“What I found out the last game is they are chasing Terrell,” guard Ramon Foster said. “They are trying to be the first guy to get a sack. Having a leader like him on their team is one of those things where everybody wants to be a part of that, and they are trying to catch up to him.”
The Steelers have allowed one sack in the past three games.
The defenses might have a chance to pick on three backup tackles in the rematch. Ronnie Stanley and James Hurst are out for Baltimore, and Marcus Gilbert is unlikely to play for the Steelers.
Foster enjoys playing in this AFC North rivalry because of each team’s physical nature. He said the rivalry is based more on respect than hatred, which isn’t the case when the Steelers play the Bengals.
“To me, it’s pure football,” Foster said. “You can play hard football without all of the antics and personal fouls and stuff like that, and that’s what they are doing. I respect that aspect of it a whole lot.”
It helps that both teams usually are jostling for the top spot in the division when they play each other.
“When you’ve been good for a while like they have and we have, we’re going to go hard in between the plays,” Foster said. “But the disrespectful talk and the extra stuff, it just doesn’t happen. If they get a sack, they are going to do their little dances. Hell, we do the same thing. That’s just the sport of the game.”
Love of the games
The only active player with a longer history in the rivalry than Roethlisberger is Suggs, the 36-year-old pass rusher who is in his 16th season.
Suggs has sacked Roethlisberger 17 times, including playoffs, the most of any NFL defender.
Suggs appreciates the rivalry as much as he did in his younger days when he was playing alongside Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.
“I still love playing in these games,” Suggs said. “These games are definitely a bit more edgy than others, but at the end of the day, these two teams know each other very well. So, it’s still fun.”
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