Same Old Story for Roethlisberger

Dale Lolley reports from the Steelers' 23-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals:

Ben Roethlisberger tried to wear a visor in the first half of Sunday's 23-7 victory by the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Cincinnati Bengals, but it kept getting muddied up by the wet conditions at Heinz Field.

So he went to a larger facemask instead to start the second half.

"Every time I hit the ground, it made it harder to see," said Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger was hitting the ground a lot. Cincinnati, which entered Sunday's game with just 14 sacks, had four against the Steelers and hit Roethlisberger a number of other times,leading one to wonder how many times Pittsburgh's quarterback will get hit next week when the blitz-happy New York Jets come to town.

For that matter, you have to wonder how many holding penalties the Steelers will draw. The offense had four more against the Bengals (six when the holds by special teamers are added).

Everything about this Steelers team has the look of a championship group, with the exception of the offensive line.

Of course that's been the case for the past several years and the Steelers won a Super Bowl in spite of a poor offensive line just two seasons ago.

But the defense is playing championship-caliber football. The special teams, despite losing both specialists in the past month, have been solid. In fact, placekicker Shaun Suisham is now 9-for-9 on field goal attempts.

But offensively, the holding penalties and sacks are drive killers and are going to bite this team in its collective behind at some point.

© Once again, Roethlisberger appeared to take a shot to the head, with no penalty being called.

This time, it was Michael Johnson getting his hand up on the quarterback's facemask - any shot to the QB's head is supposed to be flagged – and nothing was called.

The Steelers continue to complain about these kinds of plays on their quarterback, but to no avail.

© Anthony Madison paid a price for a bad decision by rookie Antonio Brown in the fourth quarter.

Brown attempted to field a bouncing punt with two Bengals right on top of him and muffed it, forcing Madison to dive on the loose ball.

Madison got drilled and had to be helped off the field for his trouble.

Up 20-7, there was no reason for Brown to try to field a ball at the Pittsburgh 40. It's one of those reasons coach Mike Tomlin doesn't like to use rookies. They make those kinds of silly mistakes.

© It was a tough pass interference call on Ike Taylor working on Chad Ochocinco in the end zone, in the first quarter, that set up Cincinnati's lone touchdown.

Yes, there was a lot of hand jockeying going on, but it was going both ways.

Then again, the defensive player always loses in those situations.

© When you see Troy Polamalu make big game-changing plays as he has the past two weeks, you're reminded of what the Steelers were missing in 2009 when they went on their five-game losing streak that basically ended their playoff hopes.

When asked what it is that makes Polamalu so good, Ryan Clark said, "Clearly, if I knew how he was doing it, I would be doing it. He's instinctive, but he's also very hard-working and intelligent. When you add all of those things together, you get a guy that makes plays. We just need him to keep doing it."

Indeed.

© Much was made in 2009 about not having Aaron Smith in the lineup for 11 games. And with Ziggy Hood still a rookie and not ready to play last season, that was certainly a loss.

But Hood has played well in Smith's stead this season.

If Polamalu were to be lost, however, so would the season.

(Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.)


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