“It’s an AFC North game. Any time we play an AFC North team to me it’s a huge rivalry. I think people make a really big deal about it because it’s kind of a marquee NFL matchup. It’s usually decided by a few points. It’s usually hard-hitting. It’s usually a prime-time game. I think that’s why it’s made such a big deal of.” — Ben talked to reporters today after practice about the Steelers vs Ravens rivalry.

Looking ahead to Sunday…

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Ed Bouchette:

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger strapped on a fortified right shoe and went through nearly a full practice with his Steelers teammates today.

“I only missed probably 10-15 snaps,” said Roethlisberger, who has a sprained right foot. “We did some different kind of looks to adapt and make it so we could still do stuff, so I think it went fairly well.”

“It hurts because it’s my plant foot, my right foot. When I hit the ground, I want to get the ball out.”

He vowed that he will play Sunday night in Baltimore.

“I’ll find a way to make it happen.”

You can read his column here and more from Mr. Bouchette here.

From Ben’s interview after practice today, shown on NFL Network:

On whether there is any doubt he will play Sunday –

“Not in my mind. I want to play all the time.”

On playing with the sprain –

“John Norwig, the mastermind that we have at trainer, and I are in the middle of putting together a cleat that kind of has some stability in it to keep me from moving the foot. Hopefully we’ll come up with something good that I can take the boot off and put the cleat on, but it’ll have the same stability of the boot.

“You know I’m going to give it my all. You know that. I will not be out there if I’m going to hurt this team. If I can help the team win, I’ll be out there.”

Update: You can check out Ben’s locker room interview at Steelers.com.

From an article featured in the L.A. Times:

When Ben Roethlisberger plays under center, the Steelers rarely lose to the rival Ravens.

Ben Roethlisberger is the great equalizer in the Steelers-Ravens rivalry.

Of the last eight games between the division rivals, the Steelers have won five — all with Roethlisberger at quarterback. The three he didn’t play, they lost.

Roethlisberger is expected to be in the lineup when the teams meet Sunday night in Baltimore for first place in the AFC North. Roethlisberger was suspended when the Ravens beat the Steelers 17-14 on a last-minute Joe Flacco to T.J. Houshmandzadeh touchdown pass Oct. 3 in Pittsburgh.

You can read the rest here.

From an article at AHN (All Headline News):

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will lead Pittsburgh’s offense Sunday when it clashes against the Baltimore Ravens.

It could be a most meaningful contest for both teams, and is also expected to be a bruising encounter at M&T Bank Stadium.

Pittsburgh and Baltimore have some of the most physical competitors in the league, including star linebackers James Harrison of the Steelers and Ray Lewis of the Ravens.

But the spotlight would be on the two quarterbacks.

Though Joe Flacco has struggled against Pittsburgh, posting a 2-4 career record including his first victory ever at Heinz Field this season, he has the Ravens rolling at home.

If given enough time to throw, Flacco is expected to rip the Steelers through the air, having already thrown 10 TDs and only one interception at home this year.

Roethlisberger has dominated the Ravens over the course of his career, and is expected to continue his success despite the foot injury he sustained during Sunday’s 19-16 overtime victory over the Bills.

The two-time Super Bowl champion Roethlisberger sprained his foot during the first half, but was able to finish the contest. He threw for 246 and was sacked five times Sunday.

Roethlisberger has completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 1,825 yards with 12 TD and four interceptions in seven tilts this season…

You can read the rest here.

Ben being Ben…

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s Mark Kaboly:

Ben Roethlisberger likes to refer to himself as a gunslinger, and why not? He’s pretty good at it.

Roethlisberger thoroughly enjoys getting out of the pocket in order to make the big play down the field.

Teams have made a concerted effort to keep the Steelers’ quarterback in the pocket with a controlled rush. When Big Ben has gotten free, teams have made sure covering receivers deep down the field is their top priority.

“That’s fine, we’ll take that,” Roethlisberger said. “(I’ll) just stay in the pocket and throw the ball.”

Or maybe he’ll just take off and run.

Roethlisberger has chosen the latter recently, making big plays with his legs instead of his arm over the past two games.

“I am just seeing something and doing it,” Roethlisberger said of his recent running success. “It is not a design thing. It is just trying to make a play.”

You can read his column here.

Also Today:

From Jerry Micco’s Q&A at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Q: Was hoping the Baltimore Sun representative would be online so I could ask him about this statement from Sun columnist Mike Preston – “Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger might have made some adjustments in his living style, but he still likes the drama when it comes to football. It seems that every time the Ravens play the Steelers, Roethlisberger comes up with some injury”. Is Mr. Preston simply attempting to throw flames to draw page hits or is really that much of homer? Certainly would not expect to read that from Gerry Dulac or Ed Bouchette.

Jerry: Well, Ed and Gerry are reporters. Ron Cook and Gene Collier are columnists, and like Preston, are paid for their opinions. Whether you agree or not is up to you. Now in one case, Ben had no choice. He was suspended for the earlier game this year. Last year, he was concussed. But when he does play, I believe he’s 7-2 against them. I don’t know, I’d not tweak Roethlisberger if I were the Ravens.

Q: Why isn’t Mr. Rooney talking to Goodell about the “no calls” on Ben? He is getting roughed up and it’s not fair.

Jerry: I’m not sure that the Steelers haven’t contacted Park Avenue about how they perceive the treatment of their QB.

Check out the rest of Mr. Micco’s Q&A here.


NFL Network’s “Total Access” experts will discuss the rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens during a segment of the show which starts at 7 p.m.

They will also discuss whether Ben is the “great equalizer” in the game or if the injury will play a factor.

Also on NFL Network, the replay of the Steelers vs. Bills game will be shown at 9:15 pm., again on Thursday at 2:00 a.m. and once more at 2:15 p.m.

You can check out their full schedule here.