Is there an NFL Offensive Player of the Week jinx?
Not a chance.
Roethlisberger started slowly last night. The Steelers went three-and-out on their first three possessions as Roethlisberger passed for only eight yards.
But he got hot in a hurry.
"It's fun, especially that last one," said Roethlisberger. "I was so happy for Matt Spaeth. He has been around a long time and puts a lot of dirty work in, a log of blocking. For him to get that big touchdown, I was just so excited for him."
Roethlisberger finished the game with 24 completions in 37 attempts for 340 yards without being intercepted.
THE SILVER IS BACK
Last week James Harrison notched his first two sacks since coming out of retirement, and last night
Harrison had two more sacks and put several hits on Ravens QB Joe Flacco. Both of Harrison's sacks came on third-down plays, but perhaps more significant was his pressure and hit on Flacco that caused Jason Worilds' interception and set up the Steelers' second touchdown.
Harrison was also involved in a third-and-1 stuff of RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, and was shaken up on the play when the entire pile collapsed on him. Harrison missed three snaps but returned to hit Flacco and force an incompletion on the next play.
Harrison's two sacks moved him past Joe Greene and into third place on the Steelers' all-time list with 68. Jason Gildon is first with 77 and L.C. Greenwood is second with 73.5.
BRYANT'S FIRST START
Bryant, the rookie fourth-round pick, made his first career start and promptly dropped a pass on the Steelers' first offensive play.
But Bryant rebounded to score touchdowns on passes of 19 and 18 yards. He finished the game with three catches for 44 yards.
Since being activated three games ago, Bryant has 10 catches, five of them for touchdowns.
"He wants to be great. He puts the work in," said Roethlisberger. "He still has a long way to go. There are still some things that he doesn't do right all the time. But we're proud of him. He's making plays out there. Same thing with Markus Wheaton. You put the ball up and expect them to make plays, and they did. If both of those guys can continue to grow and get better and put the work in at the practice facility like they are doing, I think that will be the key for them."
After Steelers CB Brice McCain recovered a Taliaferro fumble in the second quarter, Roethlisberger threw a first-down pass to Brown for seven yards that drew three penalty flags, all against the Ravens: defensive holding, personal foul for horse-collar, and roughing the passer.
The Steelers were granted only 10 yards on the three penalties, but on third down Roethlisberger threw the five-yard touchdown pass to Bell to tie the game at 7-7.
DOWN GOES SHAZIER, TROY
Rookie inside linebacker Ryan Shazier limped off the field with an injured right ankle late in the first quarter. He returned the following series, and played with a limp for three snaps before leaving for the rest of the game. He was replaced by Sean Spence and left the stadium in a walking boot.
Strong safety Troy Polamalu was also hurt, also returned to action, and also sat out the second half.
For the second consecutive game, Mike Tomlin used LeGarrette Blount, a 250-pound running back, as the Steelers' kickoff return man in place of rookie speedster Dri Archer. Blount returned one kickoff for 29 yards, the Steelers' longest of the season.
One Steelers beat writer had dubbed punter Brad Wing "Lucy Van Pelt" after Wing had botched a hold in Cleveland on an early-game field-goal attempt.
It happened again last night, but this time Wing bobbled the snap, got up and threw a pass to Spaeth in the end zone for a two-point conversion.
Wing also punted six times at an average of 41.8 yards per punt.
With starting NT McLendon healthy, the Steelers opted against activating McCullers, a rookie fan favorite, since Thomas can play both nose tackle and defensive end.