The AFC North rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens has a reputation for physicality. One look at the face of Ben Rothlisberger revealed that Sunday night's showdown between the teams was no exception.
The Steelers' quarterback left the field with a crooked and bloody nose after being sacked for an 8-yard loss on the team's first offensive series, the result of Haloi Ngata’s left arm hitting his facemask. As trainers tended to him on the sideline, it quickly became apparent from multiple TV camera angles that Roethlisberger’s nose was in bad shape.
"Someone just came through and a hand got through my facemask," Roethlisberger said. "The next thing you know, I feel blood running down my face."
He spent much of the following series trying to stop the bleeding, and his jersey was soon spattered with blood.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed moments after Pittsburgh's 13-10 victory that his quarterback had broken his nose on the play.
Roethlisberger, already playing with a broken bone in his foot, returned for the next series.
While Roethlisberger's injury was perhaps the night's most memorable, the scariest moment involved Steelers tight end Heath Miller, who was concussed after a hard hit delivered by linebacker Jameel McClain in the third quarter.
Much to the surprise of Chris Collinsworth in the broadcast booth, no penalty was called on the hit that snapped Miller's head back, which left him motionless on the field for several minutes while being tended to by team doctors. He was eventually able to walk to the sidelines under his own power.
Ravens tight end Todd Heap strained his hamstring on the first play from scrimmage, while Steelers right tackle Flozell Adams sprained his ankle when it was rolled up on in the third quarter. Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda injured his knee in the second quarter, with placekicker Shaun Suisham forced to fill in for the rest of the game.
Tomlin said after the game that Sepulveda has an anterior cruciate ligament injury and is likely done for the season.
Roethlisberger, meanwhile, told reporters that he has kept the self-examination of his face to a minimum.
"I looked real quick," he said. "It hopefully will be fixed tomorrow. It looks like I just went 12 rounds with (boxer Manny) Pacquiao."