Roethlisberger makes all the right decisions
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
By Teresa Varley
Last year Ben Roethlisberger spent opening day on the sidelines as a cheerleader, encouraging his teammates in a win over the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field while he was recovering from an emergency appendectomy.
This year he spent some time on the sidelines as well on opening day, cheering on quarterback Charlie Batch and his teammates. But it wasn’t until the fourth quarter when the game was clearly a win for the Steelers that Roethlisberger took on that role.
Roethlisberger completed 12 of 23 of his passes for 161 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes in the game while amassing a quarterback rating of 114.3. He was on target, made good decisions and did what he needed to do to the Steelers to a 34-7 win over the Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium
"The scary part is Ben is going to keep getting better and better as he learns this new offense," said wide receiver Hines Ward, the recipient of one of his touchdown pass. "I think the big thing is he realizes now that he doesn't have to do it all by himself. It's not all about Ben Roethlisberger. It doesn't have to be about Ben Roethlisberger. He has a great supporting cast. He has to trust us and use us to make plays for him."
Roethlisberger spread the ball around, throwing to six receivers, including touchdown passes to tight ends Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth.
"I'm excited because I felt we were very unpredictable today," said Roethlisberger. "Other teams that watch this tape are going to have to prepare for so much. We got into the playbook a little, but we still have a lot in there that we haven't showed. That's exciting to me."
* * *
The defensive players have a special relationship with coordinator Dick LeBeau and showed him that on Saturday night in Cleveland. The players presented LeBeau for several gifts, including a Rolex watch, on the eve of his 70th birthday.
"It doesn't belong on me," said LeBeau of the watch. "Nonetheless, I'm not turning it in."
The players also had a cake for LeBeau, with Happy Birthday “Coach Dad,” on it.
They also presented him with a framed poster of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," that each player signed in honor of LeBeau reciting it to them every year at Christmas.
There was one gift he wouldn’t accept though. The team gave Coach Mike Tomlin the game ball in the locker room after the win and he tried to give it to LeBeau.
"I tried to give it to Dick LeBeau but he wouldn't take it,” said Tomlin. “So I guess I'm taking it home."