Steelers Notebook: QB rides shotgun, absorbs more hits
December 6, 2010 10:30 AM
Blood runs from Ben Roethlisberger's nose after taking a sack against the Ravens in the first quarter Sunday in Baltimore.
Hines Ward and Ray Lewis get tangled up in the first half.
By Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BALTIMORE -- The Steelers lost punter Daniel Sepulveda for the rest of the season in Sunday night's game with the Ravens when the ACL in his right leg was torn, the third time he has had that injury since his college days.
The team will likely sign a punter to take his place this week.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also will have surgery to repair a broken nose, sustained in the first series when he was sacked by the Ravens Haloti Ngata, who hit the quarterback in the face with his left hand.
Roethlisberger, though, will be able to play next Sunday against Cincinnati.
Right tackle Flozell Adams left the game with a high ankle sprain and tight end Heath Miller left with a concussion.
Big Ben's mobility
Because of an injured right foot that restricted his mobility, Roethlisberger played most of the first half lined up in the shotgun formation.
Roethlisberger has a sprain and fracture in his right foot. He lined up under center for only five of the 31 snaps in the first half.
He took most of the snaps in the shotgun because it put less stress on his foot.
Roethlisberger was sacked twice in the first half. On the first one he was struck across the facemask by the left hand of Ngata, causing a bloody nose. No penalty was called on Ngata for a blow to the head.
In the second quarter, as he was chased from the pocket, Roethlisberger was shoved to the ground by safety Dawan Landry after he released the ball. No penalty was called, and Roethlisberger looked at referee Terry McAulay and waved his hand in disgust.
Dimed to depth
The Steelers used their dime defensive package, which employs six defensive backs, a lot last week in Buffalo because the Bills used formations with four wide receivers.
In that package, the Steelers take linebacker Lawrence Timmons -- one of their best players -- off the field and insert cornerback Anthony Madison as the sixth defensive back.
When cornerback Bryant McFadden was injured against the Bills, the Steelers had to reach further into their bench for cornerback Keenan Lewis when they took Timmons off the field, a move that doesn't seem to make sense.
But defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau does that because he doesn't want Timmons matched against a wide receiver.
The Steelers didn't think they would use that package much against the Ravens because LeBeau wanted Timmons on the field to match against running back Ray Rice. Plus, the Ravens rarely use four wide receivers at once.
Until the Ravens got a 14-yard touchdown on the Joe Flacco-to-Anquan Boldin pass with 1:59 remaining in the first quarter Sunday night, the Steelers had allowed one touchdown in the previous 150 minutes, 10 seconds.
Boldin's touchdown was the first against the Steelers in the red zone since the New England game Nov. 14.
The Ravens failed to sweep the season series with the Steelers. The only time they won both games against the Steelers in one season was in 2006. The Steelers won both games in 1997, '98, 2002, and '08.
Ravens give, don't yield
Despite 16 giveaways in their first 11 games, the Ravens started the game without having allowed a single touchdown off a turnover all season. The Steelers broke that streak in the fourth quarter, scoring their only touchdown after a fumble by Flacco when he was sacked by Troy Polamalu.
The Steelers snapped Baltimore's eight-game home winning streak as well as the Ravens' string of nine consecutive games in which they'd piled up at least 300 yards of offense.
Post-Gazette columnist Gene Collier contributed to this report. First Published December 6, 2010 5:30 AM