Round 1 goes to Roethlisberger

<b>PITTSBURGH -</b> In what promises to be the first of many meetings between teams led by Ben Roethlisberger and those quarterbacked by Carson Palmer, the Steelers' young quarterback came out on top. <br><br> More importantly, Roethlisberger looked like the better quarterback in doing so. Maybe it was because the Bengals' defense is so bad, but Roethlisberger looked much more poised and in control in the pocket than Palmer, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft.<br><br>

This is not to say that Roethlisberger is now or is going to be a better quarterback than Palmer. But on this day, he was.

The Steelers had two interceptions on Palmer and dropped four other balls that could have easily been picked off. And Roethlisberger didn't make any of the horrid throws he did last week in his first start at Miami.

Roethlisberger is going to have some games where he makes some stupid mistakes and looks like a rookie. But this game wasn't one of them.
  • Cincinnati's run defense was so bad that Jerome Bettis had room to run when he was in there.

    Even so, I'll take Duce Staley as my running back, even with his two fumbles Sunday.

    Bettis, after all, completely muffed a pitch from Roethlisberger and I don't think fumbling is a serious problem for Staley, even though he did have one in the preseason as well.

  • The Steelers' defense still has problems stopping the pass, but it's a much better defense this season than in previous years if just for the added playmaking ability of Chris Hope and Troy Polamalu.

    But even though he was in on a ton of tackles Sunday, Hope had better start wrapping opposing ball carriers up instead of constantly going for a big hit. He missed Cincinnati's Rudi Johnson a couple of times going for a knockout blow. He's also not going to have any shoulders left if he keeps on playing like that.

  • Speaking of Polamalu, how do the naysayers like that use of a No. 1 pick on him now? Two interceptions and 31 tackles in four games looks pretty good.

    The kid is a playmaker.

  • It didn't count because his knee was down, but when was the last time you saw a Steelers' quarterback keep a play alive like Roethlisberger did in the second quarter when he was eventually ruled sacked by Duane Clemons?

    No play is ever over with Roethlisberger at quarterback.

  • Some will look at his numbers - 11 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble - and say that Larry Foote makes Kendrell Bell expendable. But Foote is no Bell.

    If the Steelers had Bell healthy Sunday, Rudi Johnson wouldn't have gone over 100 yards rushing.

  • It was nice to see head coach Bill Cowher reward Ike Taylor for his blocked punt at Miami by having him active. But it must have been a tough call to deactivate Chidi Iwuoma.

    Then again, Cowher watched Iwuoma try to cover receivers throughout training camp and knows he can't do it. Considering Cowher figured the Bengals would try to spread the Steelers out more than they did, it made sense to have Taylor active.

  • Yes, that was Plaxico Burress running after the catch a couple of times Sunday, just in case you didn't recognize it.

  • Burress should have been called for offensive pass interference in the end zone in the fourth quarter on a play in which Tory James was instead flagged.

    That said. Chad Scott didn't deserve his 35-yard pass interference penalty on Chad Johnson in the first quarter either.

    Sunday's officiating crew had a very liberal view of pass interference and defensive holding penalties.

  • Staley is on pace to rush for 1,488 yards this season - with no touchdowns. That would shatter the NFL record for most yards rushing without a TD.

    Bettis, meanwhile, is on pace to score 20 touchdowns and gain 88 yards rushing for the season.

  • Roethlisberger's QB rating is 86.2, which if he keeps it up, would be third in team history for a season, trailing only Terry Bradshaw's 1975 season (87.8) and Neil O'Donnell's 1995 campaign (87.7).

    Roethlisberger is just ahead of Tommy Maddox's rating of 85.2 from 2002.

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