Let the Roethlisberger era begin

<b>BALTIMORE -</b> Let the Ben Roethlisberger era begin. <br><br> A dejected Tommy Maddox declined to talk to reporters following the team's 30-13 loss to the Ravens Sunday. And for good reason. <br><br> Maddox realizes that his career as the Steelers' starting quarterback is likely over.

While head coach Bill Cowher would only say that Maddox would be out for an extended period of time with a strained or torn muscle in his elbow, Maddox is smart enough to know he's done if he misses more than three or four games.

If Roethlisberger plays well, Cowher won't want to replace the rookie. If Roethlisberger plays poorly, the Steelers will lose more than they win and Cowher will likely decide to stick with the kid to get a jump on getting him ready for 2005.

Either way, Maddox will be on the outside looking in.

  • After watching the Ravens' opening drive Sunday, you couldn't help but realize the Steelers were in for a long day. They were trying to arm-tackle Jamal Lewis, something that's pretty much impossible to do.

    The Steelers adjusted after that opening 90-yard touchdown drive, but the damage had been done. They wanted to get off to a fast start and force Kyle Boller to beat them. Instead, they gave the Ravens all the momentum they needed to put the Steelers back on their heals.

  • Perhaps the player who had the worst game for the Steelers was punter Chris Gardocki. When the Steelers needed big punts to get the Ravens out of their territory, Gardocki responded with punts that were not only short, but low as well.

    And this was on a beautiful September day. If Gardocki's only kicking the ball 30 yards on a nice day, what's he going to do when it's 30 degrees at Heinz Field?

  • If I told you Jamal Lewis would finish with 62 yards rushing and Ray Lewis had seven tackles - most of which came late in the game after it was already decided - you'd have probably picked the Steelers to win.

    You didn't count on the contributions of Chester Taylor. That's OK, neither, apparently, did the Steelers.

  • Troy Polamalu is outstanding coming up to the line of scrimmage in run support. But he was not good enough to cover up for the lack of tackling by Larry Foote and Deshea Townsend when the Ravens were running the ball against the nickel defense.

  • Speaking of Townsend, do you think defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau had flashbacks when he sent Townsend on a blitz and Townsend nailed Boller.

    There goes No. 26 firing in from the corner.

    Now if he could just get No. 95 to do a good Greg Lloyd impression.

  • Hey Deion, you're not allowed to take your helmet off in this here league anymore. That's especially true for a player who brings nothing - nada, zip - to the table any longer.

    There's no truth to the rumor Sanders hurt his hamstring high stepping off the field after what amounted to an 8-yard punt return after his return and 15-yard penalty for pulling off his helmet.

    No, he hurt the hammy getting beat deep by Plaxico Burress. I think he pulled the hammy when he grabbed Burress by the shoulder pads to keep him from making the long catch. It should have been a pass interference penalty. Hell, they called every other ticky-tack penalty in the game.

  • The Ravens fans were going nuts after Joey Porter pushed an injured Todd Heap to the ground late in the first half.

    Heap then laid on the field until trainers cam out and got him. Was Porter's push necessary? No. Was it cheap? Maybe.

    Then again, Heap should have gotten off the field if he didn't want to be hit. It is a football game, after all.

  • The Ravens were playing football in the first quarter. The Steelers? They were the scout team.

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