The Unexpected

They don't get much hotter than rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

After just 5 1/2 games, he's 5-0 as a starter and can match former Steelers quarterback Mike Kruczek for the best start to a career at the position since the 1970 NFL merger.

Roethlisberger's passer rating continues to climb. He's at 104.7 and the only interception he has thrown in his past 116 passes glanced off the hands of his receiver, Antwaan Randle El.

He stared down New England's complicated defense for his best passer rating of the season, 126.4. In each start, that rating has climbed.

"You can't even describe Ben's effort," said WR Hines Ward, who caught six of his passes for 58 yards Sunday. "Nobody expected the kid to come out here, going against the World Champions and play like he did."

Roethlisberger entered the third quarter of the second game of the season, in Baltimore, when Tommy Maddox was hurt. Maddox will return either this week or next but he won't get his old job back. He will serve as the No. 2 quarterback once his right elbow is healthy enough. Maddox began throwing last week and said his arm felt fine.

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