Fortunately for the Steelers, it occured in a game they were able to win because the other team's quarterback was also having a "rookie" game.">
Fortunately for the Steelers, it occured in a game they were able to win because the other team's quarterback was also having a "rookie" game.">

The "rookie" game

<b>CINCINNATI -</b> I suppose it was inevitable that Ben Roethlisberger finally have a "rookie" game.<br><br> Fortunately for the Steelers, it occured in a game they were able to win because the other team's quarterback was also having a "rookie" game.

When pressured by Cincinnati's defense, Roethlisberger took sacks. When pressured by the Steelers' defense, Cincinnati's Carson Palmer threw into triple coverage and was intercepted by James Farrior, who returned the pick for a touchdown.

Roethlisberger's final numbers don't look any different than any of his other games. He completed 15 of 21 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, which computes to a passer rating of 104.9, just above his season rating of 101.7.

But make no mistake, the rookie didn't play well.

Roethlisberger was sacked seven times for minus-54 yards and lost a fumble. It appeared that many of the sacks came because he was indecisive and held the ball too long.

"I take the blame for those sacks," Roethlisberger said. "I probably should have gotten rid of the ball."

Steelers head coach Bill Cowher agreed.

"Everybody was waiting for Ben to have his game, and I guess this was his game," said Cowher. "I was like you guys, this was the first time I got to see him have a little adversity and he handled it very well. He never lost his composure. He was fine. He fought through it and never really lost any confidence. I think that he grew tremendously."

Cowher can say that because, despite everything else, the Steelers won 19-14.
  • It's time to start the Farrior for Defensive Player of the Year push.

    The guy is playing out of his mind and is making a big play seemingly every week.

    The Steelers aren't getting the kind of production they need out of Clark Haggans, but Farrior is making up for that by being a difference maker.

  • As well as Farrior has played, Troy Polamalu was the best player on the field Sunday.

  • Roethlisberger continues to miss open receivers running free.

    When he starts understanding and seeing the whole field, he has the potential to be awesome.

  • Cowher got in special teams coach Kevin Spencer's face following a block in the back penalty by Ike Taylor - seemingly Taylor's 50th special teams miscue of the season.

    Cowher appeared to be telling Spencer that if he couldn't get the players to stop making stupid penalties, Cowher would take over special teams duties and make sure they did. That is, of course, just speculation on my part.

    If looks could have killed, Cowher would be gone right now. Spencer was not pleased and may follow all of Cowher's other special teams coaches out the door following this season.

    Note to Cowher: Spencer's the best special teams coach you've ever had. Losing him would be a blow. Yell at the players for mistakes like that, not the coach.

  • Can you see Dan Rooney calling Cowher into his office and yelling at him for something stupid a player, say Joey Porter, does on the field? Me neither. And I definitely can't see him doing it in front of thousands of people.

    It's about respecting your employees, especially your assistant coaches, who have to have the power to come down on the players, something screaming at them on the sidelines detracts from.

  • Many will say the Steelers' passing game struggled because Plaxico Burress was lost to injury.

    But that's too simplistic. The passing game was struggling before Burress left the game.

    Certainly losing Burress didn't help matters, but the Bengals really mixed things up and confused Roethlisberger, causing him to hold the ball longer than he should have.

  • Burress' injury doesn't appear too serious, but Kendrell Bell was limping badly following the game.

    But it is Duce Staley's injury that is confounding me.

    One day I see Staley and he's walking normally and playing around. The next day, he's dragging his injured leg.

    Cowher said Staley's second opinion revealed nothing new. And that might be bad news. It might be better if the Steelers knew one way or the other what's going on with the injury.

  • Any questions about Roethlisberger's durability have been answered. He got hit a lot Sunday, but was no worse for the wear.

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