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Tag:Pittsburgh Steelers
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Roethlisberger denies rumors he's planning to sit

Big Ben limps down the steps to the locker room after Pittsburgh beat Cleveland last Thursday. (AP)
By Will Brinson

The logical conclusion for the remainder of the Steelers season is that they will rest quarterback Ben Roethlisberger against the Rams and Browns. In fact, on Wednesday we noted rumors that Ben would likely be out Saturday against Cleveland, despite the quarterback saying he was optimistic he'd play.

Roethlisberger was asked about those rumors specifically on Thursday, and, per Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times, staunchly denied that he's currently planning on sitting out against St. Louis.

"They always like to say things," Roethlisberger said when asked about reports that he wouldn't play. "Unless Coach said something, I will wait to hear it from him."

Roethlisberger, simply put, didn't look healthy against the 49ers. He looked like a guy with a bum ankle who needed rest in order to gain his mobility back, not to mention his ability to step into throws.

The Steelers obviously want to win the next two weeks, but they don't need to win. They hold the tiebreaker over the only three 8-6 teams -- the Bengals (head-to-head), the Broncos (conference record) and the Jets (conference record) -- that could potentially catch them for the fifth seed.

Pittsburgh could still win the AFC North, but it would require the Ravens losing to either the Browns at home or the Bengals on the road. Though the latter is certainly possible, it's still not likely, and if Charlie Batch is able to hand the ball off well enough to score 21 points each of the next two weeks, the Steelers could get away with resting Roethlisberger for the postseason.

Which is precisely why they should, even if Ben doesn't want to rest and is maintaining that the isn't planning on it yet.


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Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:46 pm
 

NFL won't punish Browns for handling of McCoy

Harrison wonders if Cleveland should be punished for their handling of McCoy. (Getty Images/AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Steelers linebacker James Harrison, fresh off a one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy in Week 14, questioned Wednesday why Cleveland let McCoy back in the game only a few plays after he suffered what would later be diagnosed as a concussion.

"If he was hurt so bad I don't know why they let him back in ... two plays later," Harrison said via wire reports. "Something should be done to them, I would think. I don't know. I got a game, what should they get?"

Fair question. The answer, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer: nothing. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the Browns won't be disciplined for their handling of McCoy.

Last week, team president Mike Holmgren admitted that there was "no indication" that McCoy had suffered a concussion, and subsquently was never checked out before being sent back into the game. More Holmgren: “Our medical staff and our training staff, they are the best in football. These guys are really good. So one of the things that is troubling to me in this whole process is that they’re getting slammed a bit, along with the head coach. ...And it’s unfair.”

Also unfair: risking McCoy's life because the people in charge of his safety somehow missed one of the biggest collisions of the season.

The NFL Players Association hasn't decided if it will file a grievance against the Browns, but the incident has led to changes in the way teams deal with head injuries. Last Sunday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told CBS Sports' James Brown that he wanted doctors eyeing each game and its players "at all times."


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with James Brown about the recent concussion that Cleveland Browns QB Colt McCoy suffered from a hit by Steelers LB James Harrison. Goodell also goes into depth about the NFL cracking down on concussions.

Starting this Saturday, that will be a reality.

"NFL contacting teams asking them to put a Certified Athletic Trainer in the Press Box for this weekend's game," CBS Sports Charley Casserly reported Tuesday. "College trainers may be used."

More details via CBSSports.com's Will Brinson:
The league will send a memo to all 32 clubs Tuesday or Wednesday to break down the new protocol for using the trainer during the game.

The trainer will be situated in the press box and monitor the entire game while having direct communication to the sideline to ensure that anyone who may have suffered a concussion will receive proper medical treatment.
Harrison, meanwhile, appears to have learned his lesson, too.

"I'm doing everything [the league] asks me to do," Harrison said. "I've lowered my target area, that's it. … I'm not worried about anything. I can't foresee the future. I'm not a fortune-teller. I'm going to deal with it as it comes."

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 8:57 pm
 

Jim Harbaugh: Seahawks better on D than Steelers

It may seem like a stretch, but Seattle's defense has played as well if not better than Pittsburgh's. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Jim Harbaugh isn't stingy with the compliments, even if they might seem preposterous. On Tuesday, a day after the 49ers handily defeated the Steelers, he said that not only is Alex Smith the team's quarterback of the future, he considers the former first-overall pick a Pro Bowler this season.

"There's other great players out there in the National Football (Conference)," Harbaugh said. "I believe there's three that go to the Pro Bowl, right? Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Alex Smith -- I think those are the top three, in the NFC in my humble opinion."

Pay no attention to Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan or Eli Manning.

On Wednesday, Harbaugh was back at it, this time flattering the 49ers' next opponent: the Seattle Seahawks.

“We thought the Steelers were good on defense, preparing for them, and we think the Seahawks are even better,” he said according to CBSSports Rapid Reporter John Boyle.

On the surface, it's a ludicrous thing to say; Seattle is 7-7 and long shots to make the playoffs. Not only that, but they were blanked by the Steelers 24-0 in Week 2.

But here's the thing: Seattle may have looked like one of the NFL's worst teams through the first half of the season (they were 2-6 heading into Week 10), but they're 5-1 since November 13 and that includes convincing victories over the Ravens, Eagles and Bears. And while a resurgent Marshawn Lynch and an improved Tarvaris Jackson have something to do with the success, the defense that deserves most of the credit.

The unit's been so good, in fact, that Football Outsiders' advanced metrics ranks them ahead of the Steelers' defense. Through Week 15, Seattle is the NFL's ninth-best defense (ninth vs. the pass, 10th vs. the run), Pittsburgh is 10th (sixth vs. the pass, 13th vs. the run).

The Steelers' D has been more consistent over the course of the season, which makes sense given the Seahawks' slow start. Still, it's a startling revelation; we just assumed Harbaugh was laying it on thick in an effort to butter up the next opponent. Intended or otherwise, it turns out he was onto something. Maybe Pete Carroll really does have a plan

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Rodgers tops Pro Bowl voting; Tebow third AFC QB

Aaron Rodgers led the way in all Pro Bowl voting.(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We've wondered whether or not Tim Tebow is a Pro-Bowl candidate before this year and the answer is probably "no." But that doesn't matter when it comes to Pro-Bowl voting, where Tebow was the third-highest vote getter among AFC quarterbacks.

Aaron Rodgers, named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, was the top vote-getter among all NFL players, pulling in 1,581,982 votes from fans. Tom Brady was second among all NFL players with 1,454,311 votes. Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowski joined Brady in the top 10, via NFL.com:

Top-10 Pro Bowl Vote Getters
Player Position Team Votes
Aaron Rodgers
QB Packers 1,581,982
Tom Brady
QB Patriots 1,454,311
Drew Brees
QB Saints 1,188,893
Calvin Johnson
WR Lions 1,180,777
Wes Welker
WR Patriots 1,133,787
LeSean McCoy
RB Eagles 962,824
Rob Gronkowski
TE Patriots 936,886
Ben Roethlisberger
QB Steelers 935,535
Adrian Peterson
RB Vikings 925,554
Mike Wallace
WR Steelers 923,073

So, yeah, breaking: the Patriots and Steelers are popular! Also popular? Tebow.

AFC Pro Bowl Leaders by Position
Offense Defense
Player Pos Team Votes Player Pos Team Votes
Tom Brady
QB Patriots 1,454,311 Andre Carter
DE Patriots 511,693
Arian Foster
RB Texans 896,804 Haloti Ngata
DT Ravens 592,603
Vonta Leach
FB Ravens 149,801 Terrell Suggs
OLB Ravens 546,851
Wes Welker
WR Patriots 1,133,787 Ray Lewis
MLB Ravens 413,222
Rob Gronkowski
TE Patriots 936,886 Darrelle Revis
CB Jets 561,986
Michael Oher
OT Ravens 327,644 Troy Polamalu
SS Steelers 230,649
Logan Mankins
G Patriots 337,844 Ed Reed
FS Ravens 198,075
Maurkice Pouncey
C Steelers 376,457 Shane Lechler
P Raiders 228,782
Sebastian Janikowski
K Raiders 244,512 Joe McKnight
KR Jets 140,926

Once again, I'll point out that the Ravens and Patriots are popular (and also good at what they do), along with the Steelers. Brendon Ayanbadejo was the leading "special teams" vote-getter, with 106,515. On the NFC side, well, I hope you like the Packers:

NFC Pro Bowl Leaders by Position
Offense Defense
Player Pos Team Votes Player Pos Team Votes
Aaron Rodgers
QB Packers 1,581,982 Jared Allen
DE Vikings 784,527
LeSean McCoy
RB Eagles 962,824 Justin Smith
DT 49ers 525,578
John Kuhn
FB Packers 322,260 DeMarcus Ware
OLB Cowboys 581,554
Calvin Johnson
WR Lions 1,180,777 Patrick Willis
MLB 49ers 581,554
Jimmy Graham
TE Saints 725,612 Charles Woodson
CB Packers 763,198
Chad Clifton
OT Packers 392,106 Roman Harper
SS Saints 147,542
T.J. Lang
G Packers 327,740 Morgan Burnett
FS Packers 223,292
Scott Wells
C Packers 436,693 Andy Lee
P 49ers 161,812
Mason Crosby
K Packers 184,665 Devin Hester
KR Bears 268,293

For the NFC, Jarrett Bush of the Packers received the most special teams votes with 134,696. (And yes, I suppose I could have kick returners on the offense side, but I'm not trying to have my tables be all uneven. Oh no I'm not.)

Naturally, none of this means any of these guys are guaranteed to make the Pro Bowl -- the fan vote only counts as one-third of the total. The players vote is worth two-thirds. But there's a good chance that many of these guys will end up in the Pro Bowl.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: December 21, 2011 4:12 pm
 

Big Ben doesn't practice, optimistic on playing

By Will Brinson

Ben Roethlisberger looked like a statue (or, if you prefer, "the best 49er") during Pittsburgh's 20-3 loss to San Francisco on Monday night but is optimistic that he'll play on Saturday against St. Louis.

The Steelers quarterback said on Wednesday that he wasn't negatively affected by remaining in the game and throwing 45 times, and that his ankle is no worse because of it. Roethlisberger did not practice on Wednesday, however.

As Clark Judge pointed out Monday, it was a bad decision to leave Ben in against San Francisco. But it doesn't look like the same mistake will be made against St. Louis this week, as the Steelers would reportedly be "shocked" if Roethlisberger played against the Rams.

"Steelers officials would be shocked if Ben plays this week," Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network tweeted Wednesday. "Fully expect him to rest at least one week. Mike Tomlin yet to reveal decision."

Tomlin's decision should be pretty obvious: sit Ben against the Rams.

The entire point of putting Roethlisberger on the field against the 49ers was to gamble on a shot for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. If Pittsburgh beat San Francisco, they would've jumped into the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, with a very good shot at homefield advantage and a bye in the first week of the playoffs.

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Instead, the Steelers now need to both win out and have the Ravens slip up against either Cleveland or Cincinnati. As we noted this morning, anything's possible with the Ravens on the road.

But the likely scenario for Tomlin's crew involves traveling for the first round of the playoffs (perhaps to Denver) and preparing for any other reality by playing Roethlisberger against the Rams just wouldn't be prudent, particularly given the way he looked on Monday night.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:46 am
Edited on: December 21, 2011 2:20 pm
 

Steelers loss 'changed the mood' of the Ravens

By Will Brinson

Week 15 was an up-and-down experience for the Ravens (and the Harbaugh family0: they rolled into San Diego and got whupped, handing the Steelers a chance at taking over the AFC North. Pittsburgh blew their shot, thanks to a big game out of the 49ers, and now the Ravens are back to controlling their own destiny.

The prospect has them, according to Ravens running back Ray Rice, in a totally different mood.

"It changed the mood of the team today," Rice said about the Steelers loss Monday per the Baltimore Sun. "Coming in here, guys are happy. I'm not saying we're never a happy bunch. We know how to take a loss on the chin [and] we want to get better from that film, but we don't have to look at it as critical as we would have had to, [or] put as much time into San Diego anymore. We know you got to get onto Cleveland, but at the same time, we still control it. We don't have to take our show on the road if we take care of business."

Now, it's pretty obvious that "the mood in Baltimore after a Steelers loss" >>>>> "the mood in Baltimore after a Steelers win." You don't have to be a math major and/or a genius to figure that out.

What concerns me here is the way Rice is framing the Ravens attitude as a team. One, it sounds like they knew they were dead men walking if they needed to go on the road during the playoffs and they were basically expecting the Steelers to win on Monday. It's one thing to be mad about a loss; it's an entirely different thing to dwell on it like that, particularly if you've got another game in just a few days.


And two, are we supposed to buy into the idea that the Ravens don't overlook certain games on their schedule? The obvious answer to the team's problems is that they don't travel well. But Rice's statements really make me think that Baltimore's struggles against inferior opponents (they lost to three 7-7 teams and one 4-10 team this year) might be because they're looking ahead and/or too busy celebrating a previous victory.

Maybe I'm reading too deep into what the running back's saying. Or maybe not -- but there's a good chance we find out Week 17 when they travel to Cincinnati.

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 5:58 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: MNF review, power outage, MDS

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Monday night was an interesting disaster in powering up a stadium and watching football wasn't it?

But not as big a disaster as the Steelers handling of Ben Roethlisberger -- we break down what happened in the game, how talented the 49ers are, whether Ben should've played, whether Alex Smith is Pro-Bowl worthy, and the crazy conspiracy about the power outage that's percolating on Tuesday.

Then Michael David Smith of PFT joins the show to break down the Raiders defensive woes against the Lions and whether or not Romeo Crennel should get the head-coaching gig in Kansas City.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



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Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 12:25 pm
 

Big Ben: 'I was probably the best 49er tonight'

Roethlisberger was limited by a bum ankle but it may not have mattered against San Fran's stifling defense. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Growing up, Ben Roethlisberger was a huge Joe Montana fan. Late Monday night, after Pittsburgh was throttled by San Francisco thanks in part to Big Ben's four turnovers, he called himself "probably the best 49ers player tonight."

Realistically, that honor falls to either Aldon or Justin Smith, but we take your point, Ben.

As CBSSports.com's Clark Judge wrote early Tuesday morning, Roethlisberger was playing on a bad wheel. He suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Browns in Week 14 and he spent much of the week hobbling around in a walking boot. Still, Roethlisberger, who ended the evening 25 of 44 for 330 yards with three interceptions and a lost fumble, took responsibility for his performance.

“I’m not going to make excuses," he said, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Michael Erler. I played a bad football game, turned it over, and that’s on me. Everyone goes out and plays with injuries and I’m no different from anyone else. I was going to play even if I was five percent; I don’t care. …

"It’s very frustrating. You feel like you let down your team, your fans and your coaches. It’s tough. They’re a good football team, they flat out beat us and I need to be a lot better.”


The 49ers rode their top-ranked run defense once again to beat ailing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-3 on Monday night.

Big Ben also said that he didn't take a pain-killing injection before the game even though high-ankle sprains can take several weeks to heal.

“We heard that [ESPN analyst] Steve Young and those guys said pregame, ‘Oh, he’ll go shoot it up,’ ” Roethlisberger said via FoxSports.com's Alex Marvez. “No, we don’t do that. [Steelers trainers] would never put me out there and endanger me or anybody on this team to do that. I just think it’s silly that they assume that’s what you’ve got to do. Obviously, we could have done that and it would have helped a lot. But that’s kind of crazy to do and take that chance because you can further injure yourself.”

Roethlisberger risked further injury when refused to come out of the game late in the fourth quarter with the outcome decided. Judge rightly wondered why the Steelers would potentially jeopardize the rest of their season.

"When coach tried to get me out, I said, 'No, I'm not putting you in that situation," Roethlisberger said. "And I'm not quitting on our guys. I started this thing. I'm going to finish it.' "

“My hat goes off to Roethlisberger,” 49ers defensive end Justin Smith said on ESPN after the game. “Him playing, hobbled up back there, he wouldn’t come out.”

So we again have confirmation: Roethlisberger is tough. Now he needs to get healthy because it looks like the Steelers are headed for the wild card and a first-round meeting with the Denver Broncos.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com