Ravens Will Get Ben Roethlisberger This Time


There's no way Terrell Suggs was telling the truth.

Asked Wednesday if he's excited to face Ben Roethlisberger after not seeing him last season, Suggs said he didn't notice when he was gone.

Suggs and the Ravens have a lot of respect for Roethlisberger. They've waged war against him 14 times over the years, broken his nose and slammed him to the turf with a sack 47 times.

But last year, Roethlisberger sat out both regular-season contests due to injured ribs. The Ravens went against Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch.

As the Ravens and Steelers prepare to meet again, it seems both sides appear to be happy to see Big Ben under center.

"It was really painful not to play this game last year," Roethlisberger said before cracking a joke. "I don't think it was as painful as if I would have played, but it was still pretty painful not to play."

The Ravens didn't come out and say they prefer Roethlisberger under center, but they are amped for the opportunity. The Ravens heaped praise upon him.

Head Coach John Harbaugh called him a "great player," and enjoys chatting with the former Miami University (OH) graduate before games.

"Then once the game starts, it'll be high competition," Harbaugh said. "He's always been the straw that stirs the drink in Pittsburgh, and it's a big challenge when you play him."

Defensive tackle Art Jones and cornerback Lardarius Webb had similar things to say.

"He's a great quarterback. He's big, physical and has a strong arm," Jones said. "We're excited to play against him; we'll be ready to go. It was definitely a little weird not playing against him."

"He's their guy. He runs their offense," Webb added. "The things he can do with his arm, with his feet, breaking tackles and extending plays, he makes their offense go."

Roethlisberger hasn't beaten the Ravens since the 2010 season, when he came from behind to knock them out in the divisional playoffs. Baltimore swept the Steelers and Roethlisberger in 2011.

In order for the Ravens to get another win, they'll need to get Roethlisberger to the turf, a job that seems easy on the surface but more difficult in execution.

The Steelers' offensive line is their weak spot, and makes Roethlisberger vulnerable.

Pittsburgh lost Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey (knee) in Week 1, and he's been replaced by veteran Fernando Velasco. Left tackle Mike Adams was a disappointment, so the Steelers traded for veteran Levi Brown. He tore his triceps warming up for his first game in black and gold last week. Kelvin Beachum is now listed as the starting left tackle. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert is nursing a quad injury.

The Steelers have given up 19 sacks this year, tied for seventh in the NFL with the Ravens.

That means the Ravens, who are second in the league in sacks (22), should be able to get plenty of pressure on Roethlisberger.

Getting him to the ground is another story. The Ravens know well that the 6-foot-5, 241-pounder who is built more like a blocking tight end than quarterback, is difficult to tackle.

Suggs said the Ravens most definitely have to change some of their defensive tendencies specifically because of Roethlisberger's ability to escape. "He's very tough to bring down, and he's always looking to make a play downfield, especially if the rush breaks down," Suggs said. "The guy has won two Super Bowls; that speaks for itself. He's played in three. You've definitely got to alter some things."

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