Steelers Notebook: Scuffles with Ravens may cost Taylor and Polamalu
Ben Roethlisberger hugs Mike Wallace after throwing a touchdown pass against the Ravens Sunday in Baltimore.
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Officials kicked no one out even though two of them hit the turf while Ravens and Steelers battled after play ended. But some of them can expect the fines to roll in this week.
Take Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor. He was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct after he head-butted Ravens tackle Michael Oher.
Or Troy Polamalu, who was involved in pushing and shoving with some Ravens who looked as though they were trying to bring him down around his ankles after a play.
"We got beat up all over the field today, most of the game against our rivals," Polamalu said. "I may have lost it a little bit, which is not a good example, especially to my family and to the fans and children. You know what? That's also part of this game. The truth of it is, we got our butts kicked today."
And, fined by Thursday?
Polamalu's new contract of $36.5 million with a $10.55 million signing bonus means the Steelers have given more money in bonuses to five players since the beginning of August than the entire Pirates payroll for the season.
Polamalu, LaMarr Woodley ($22.5 million), Lawrence Timmons ($10 million), Taylor ($8 million) and Willie Colon ($6 million) received $48 million in bonuses. Those five players signed contracts between four and six years that will pay them $205 million if played out to completion.
If Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco heard it once, he heard it hundreds of times: He can't beat Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Flacco thoroughly outplayed Roethlisberger Sunday. He completed 17 of 29 passes for 224 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 117.6 passer rating. Roethlisberger was 22 of 41 for 280 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a 52.9 rating.
"I think he was very much in control of the game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Flacco. "I think he had a great understanding of their defense. He was probably a step ahead in terms of making the checks and getting us into the right plays the whole game. I thought he did a great job with that."
Flacco was asked if this performance might silence his many critics. "I don't know, there's always going to be critics. Turn around, 10 weeks down the road, and something might happen and [the criticism] is back again. Who knows? For the time being, maybe, but I doubt it will last long."
Terrell Suggs added three more sacks to his impressive Roethlisberger total, bringing it to 151/2, more than anyone has sacked the Steelers quarterback. That includes the playoffs.
"You're talking about some great sack artists that have been here," Harbaugh said. "Terrell Suggs is a premier player. He's one of the best players in the National Football League."
Roethlisberger concurred, "He's a great player, one of the best. He's all over the field. It's not like you know he's on your left side."
Suggs Sunday became the Ravens' all-time sack leader with 711/2, passing Peter Boulware (70).
Here's a small bit of good news for the Steelers: Coach Mike Tomlin said they escaped with their health. Linebacker James Harrison limped off the field in the second half with a right knee injury that Tomlin called a contusion, and predicted he would be fine.
Linebacker James Farrior did not play much in the second quarter, replaced by Larry Foote. Tomlin said that was the plan, to get Foote more playing time.
Ed Reed's two interceptions represented the 12th such performance of his brilliant career, and his 56 career picks are the most of any player since Reed entered the league.
Reed needs just 21 more yards on interception returns to break the NFL record set by former Steeler Rod Woodson, which is 1,483 yards.
The Ravens have played 26 consecutive games without allowing a touchdown in the third quarter, the longest such streak in the NFL since 1933.
Sunday's opening game was only the second in the past seven Steelers openers in which Polamalu did not have an interception.
Playing 24 hours after signing a new four-year contract, Polamalu did not deliver one of his better performances, letting tight end Ed Dickson get behind him for an 18-yard touchdown that helped stretch Baltimore's lead to 29-7.
First Published September 12, 2011 12:00 am