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Steelers Record Mixed Without Ben

By Ed Bouchette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 3 years ago

Good morning,

This will be the seventh game against Baltimore in which Ben Roethlisberger will not play since he became their starting quarterback. He has missed 16 games since then – 15 since after his rookie season because Bill Cowher rested him in the 2004 meaningless season-ending finale in Baltimore.

In the previous six games he has missed against the Ravens, the Steelers are 1-5. In those other 10 games he has not played since he became their starting quarterback in the third game of 2004, the Steelers are 8-2.

You can make no conclusions from those won-lost records that began 11 years ago, but if you wanted to draw a cold conclusion, you could say the Steelers chances without Roethlisberger are not good Thursday night, great after that.

And just as a reminder, he made his NFL debut at Baltimore in the second game of 2004 when the Ravens knocked starting quarterback Tommy Maddox out with an arm injury. Roethlisberger took over and looked good but the Steelers lost to the Ravens 30-13. It was their only loss in a 15-1 season as Ben Roethlisberger took over for Wally Pipp, er Maddox, and went 13-0 until Cowher rested him in that finale that was meaningless to the Steelers, who already had earned the No. 1 playoff seed, but meant everything to Buffalo. The Bills of head coach Mike Mularkey and President Tom Donahoe would make the playoffs with a win. Instead, they lost to Tommy Maddox and a new halfback, Willie Parker, 29-24 in Buffalo as the Steelers became the first AFC team to go 15-1.

Onto some Stuff:

--- Chat today, 1:30, and I will be on 93.7 The Fan at 1.

--- I’ll bet the Steelers wish they had signed Mike Vick back early in training camp when they first discussed it because of the right shoulder injury to backup Bruce Gradkowski. Instead they waited until Aug. 25 and by then they had broken training camp and had their next-to-last preseason game in Buffalo four days later.

--- Not only will Landry Jones suit up for the first time in his three seasons with the Steelers, I don’t think we’ve heard the last from him. It would not surprise me if he plays some quarterback during Roethlisberger’s absence.

--- Mike Tomlin said he will not sign another quarterback, so those two are it. The emergency QB? Why Antonio Brown, of course. And don’t forget that Heath Miller played quarterback in high school. On second thought, forget that.

--- Mike Tomlin also showed that he is not worried about the feelings of DeAngelo Williams since he allowed the AFC’s leading rusher just one carry in St. Louis upon Le’Veon Bell’s return. He did open with two backs, however, so Williams got his third straight start with the Steelers.

--- Roethlisberger had completed 75.3 percent of his passes this season and had a 113.1 passer rating. Mike Vick has a career completion percentage below 60.

--- Generally when a team wins, their odds to make the playoffs, etc., increase. However, the Steelers odds to win the AFC North Division plummeted after they won their second game in a row, naturally because of the injury to Roethlisberger.

Here are the odds now and before Sunday from Bookmaker Sportsbook:

ODDS TO WIN AFC NORTH 

CINCINNATI BENGALS -600

PITTSBURGH STEELERS +450

BALTIMORE RAVENS +900

CLEVELAND BROWNS +4000

ODDS TO WIN AFC NORTH on 9/25

CINCINNATI BENGALS +110

PITTSBURGH STEELERS +150

BALTIMORE RAVENS +360

CLEVELAND BROWNS +1100