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fordfixer
10-23-2009, 01:12 AM
Roethlisberger's status cut in stone
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/lol ... wns-column (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/lolleystory/10-19-Steelers-Browns-column)

F. Dale Lolley

PITTSBURGH - For much of the past decade, the Mt. Rushmore for quarterbacks included the faces of Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

They were, and probably still are, considered the holy trinity of quarterbacking in the new millennium.

But if Ben Roethlisberger's second Super Bowl victory last February wasn't cause for the stone masons to start carving a new face on the mountainside, his play thus far this season certainly has.

Roethlisberger put together another ridiculous performance Sunday in the Steelers' 27-14 victory over Cleveland at Heinz Field, completing 23 of 35 passes for 417 yards and two touchdowns.

"He's really good. He's in total control of the offense," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "It's fun to watch at times."

At other times, you can only watch in awe as another opponent is picked apart by an offense that is supposed to thrive on the running game alone.

The Steelers had a rushing attack against the Browns, gaining a season-high 140 yards on the ground, but it was on the right arm of Roethlisberger - as has been the case all season - on which this game was won.

"I think our quarterback is a pretty special player and we like it when the ball is in his hands," said tight end Heath Miller.

With a 72.5 completion percentage, and 1,887 yards passing through six games, Roethlisberger is on pace to shatter pretty much every single-season team passing record except touchdown passes. And those, too, are likely to start coming more often if the Steelers continue to throw the ball at their current pace.

Right now, the only thing stopping the Steelers are turnovers.

With four more - one interception, three fumbles - the Steelers have committed 12 turnovers in six games. That's way too many and something this team must rectify.

"I was disappointed that we got some short fields and we fumbled the ball away and dropped two touchdown passes right before the half," said Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. "We've still got a lot of work to do. The points didn't match the performance. When we put it all together, we can be pretty doggone good."

They can indeed.

No longer can opponents load up to stuff the run and stop the Steelers.

Nor can they simply double team wide receiver Hines Ward and shut down Pittsburgh's passing game.

At their current pace, the Steelers will have three 1,000-yard receivers in Ward, Santonio Holmes and Miller. This from a team that often struggled to have only one 1,000-yard receiver.

And running back Rashard Mendenhall, despite getting only a handful of carries in Pittsburgh's first three games, is on pace for almost 1,000 rushing yards. He will likely get 1,000, if he stays healthy.

But everything the Steelers do comes back to Roethlisberger, the trigger man for this offense.

"This is the best I've seen him play," said Miller. "I've seen him play pretty darn good sometimes. I just think that the more you do something, the more comfortable you are with it and Ben has full command of this offense. ... He just keeps getting better and better."

F. Dale Lolley can be reached at dlolley@observer-reporter.com

JTP53609
10-23-2009, 07:30 AM
i bet this is the only time you will see roethlisberger and cut in the same sentence....whether it be dropped from a team or being ripped, either one will not ever happen to #7

steelblood
10-23-2009, 07:58 AM
Oh Dale, you really need a fact checker at the Observer Reporter.

140 yards on the ground, a "season high" against Cleveland? I'm pretty sure that Mendenhall ran for more than that against the Chargers by himself. If you add in Moore's runs, the San Diego game had to be our best ground game.