In praise of Roethlisberger

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:58 PM ET

PITTSBURGH — It didn’t take long for Hines Ward to realize his man was back.

The first time in the huddle, the crafty Pittsburgh Steelers receiver saw the fire in Ben Roethlisberger that was such a big part of them winning a pair of Super Bowls together.

“He came in and took control of the huddle like he always does,” said Ward, who caught one of Big Ben’s three touchdown passes, an eight-yarder in the third quarter to give the Steelers a 14-3 lead en route to a 28-10 win.

“One thing about Ben — when you look into his eyes, you always know you have a chance to win ball games and everybody just follows. We are a better football team when he’s in the game.”

With the win, the Steelers improved to 4-1 and with Roethlisberger back are clearly poised to be a force in the AFC. The defence was nasty at times with James Harrison hits twice knocking out Browns players. As well, for the 39th consecutive game they didn’t allow the opposition to have a 100-yard rusher.

Meanwhile, an offence that had survived with a conservative run-first philosophy in its first four games now has some of its swagger back.

“He’s just so big and so smart,” said Wallace, who snagged the first of three Roethlisberger touchdowns. “He reads things so fast. You’ve got to be expecting the ball. He can just open the game plan up so much when he’s out there.

“Other guys can come in and do great, but I don’t think you can really replace a guy like that.”

Another upside is that it appears Roethlisberger can only get better. His accuracy was off early, a problem that wasn’t about to be exposed by the lacklustre Browns.

“I thought he played well but I’m not surprised by that,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “He hadn’t played in a few month so he missed a few throws.

“He’s not perfect, none of us are. He played a good football game.”


Photos