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fordfixer
11-12-2009, 03:44 AM
Not pretty, just Ben: QB's quiet confidence powering Steelers
Updated 8h 45m ago
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football ... rger_N.htm (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/steelers/2009-11-10-ben-roethlisberger_N.htm)

By Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY
DENVER — Ben Roethlisberger digs Bob Marley. This much was evident on Monday night, as the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback accented his blue jeans with an oversized T-shirt that blared with a huge image of the late, dreadlocked reggae legend.

The casual look was a statement of sorts, Roethlisberger's way of showing that he doesn't want to be anybody's GQ model, despite having such a high-profile job.

"People ask, 'Why aren't you dressed up?' " he said on his way out of the locker room after throwing for three touchdowns in the Steelers' 28-10 dismantling of the Denver Broncos. "Well, most of the people in Pittsburgh, they don't wear suits to work. I try to represent the city and the people. I've never been a flashy guy. I'm just me."

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Roethlisberger made an even bigger statement on the football field in helping the Steelers (6-2) win a fifth consecutive game. He demonstrated that, two Super Bowl rings and all, he keeps getting better with experience.

It wasn't a perfect game. He fumbled while taking a lick from Broncos defensive end Kenny Peterson, which rookie Robert Ayers returned 54 yards for Denver's only touchdown. He threw an interception in the red zone, when a pass to Hines Ward sailed away at the goal line.

But it was plenty good. Roethlisberger's first 3-yard touchdown toss to Ward, crossing in the back of the end zone in the third quarter, was a pinpoint throw that floated just above the reach of a linebacker. It capped a quick, four-play, 80-yard drive that included a 35-yard laser to Santonio Holmes.

That sequence was Roethlisberger's no-sweat response to the fumble.

"That's what's so special about him," said Ward. "He doesn't get rattled too easily."

Roethlisberger also exhibited his usual touch while buying time and throwing on the run, connecting on a 25-yard touchdown to rookie Mike Wallace that converted Troy Polamalu's fourth-quarter interception into the game-clinching points.

Roethlisberger, who completed 21 of 29 passes for 233 yards and had a 116.0 passer rating against Denver's No. 1-ranked defense, has never been as accurate as he is now.

At the halfway point of his sixth season, he's completed 70.6% of his throws. He entered the season with a 62.4% rate and last season — which ended with that perfect pass to Holmes in the corner of the end zone that won Super Bowl XLIII— was at 59.9%.

Roethlisberger's also on pace to throw a career-high 524 passes as the Steelers — who got a 155-yard rushing night from Rashard Mendenhall against Denver — increasingly open up the offense to ride the quarterback's big arm.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin suspects this all points to a comfort zone bolstered by time.

"He's about seen it all," Tomlin says. "He's been in just about every situation you can be in. I think that plays into his favor."

Monday night's situation was wrapped with early struggles. The opening drive ended with a sack. The next one stalled with a wide throw. Then it was a busted play and desperate fling for no gain to Heath Miller, who had blocked rather than run a route.

With the Steelers' only first-half points coming off Tyrone Carter's 48-yard interception return touchdown, they opened the second half with a no-huddle attack. It helped Roethlisberger gain the rhythm that carried him to the finish.

"I give him credit, I give our offense credit," Tomlin said. "It wasn't a fluid start for us. But he didn't blink."