Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs isn’t buying the Pittsburgh Steelers’ announcement Wednesday morning that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not play in Sunday night’s game against the Ravens.
“Until the ball is snapped, I’m still preparing as if he’s playing,” said the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, who then referred to Roethlisberger leading the Steelers to a 13-10 win against the Ravens on Dec. 5, 2010 despite a sprained right ankle and a broken nose. “Like I said, I saw the guy play on a broken ankle when he came down here, and we even broke his nose, and the guy continued to play, and if you all recall, it didn’t pan out too good for us at the end of that game. So like I said, until that ball is snapped when we’re on the field and [the Ravens offense is] off the field, I’m not ruling him out. You can never question this guy’s toughness. Guys like that are what this game is about.”
The Steelers, who already named Byron Leftwich as Sunday’s starter, have not fared well against the Ravens without Roethlisberger, who is dealing with a dislocated rib and a sprained sternoclavicular joint in his right throwing shoulder.
Pittsburgh is 0-4 against the Ravens without Roethlisberger under center, but 9-5 with the organization’s first pick in the 2004 draft. The Steelers averaged just 16.3 points in those four losses without Roethlisberger, but dropped three of those contests by a field goal each and the other by six points.
The absence of Roethlisberger could remove some of the luster from Sunday night’s showdown.
“I wouldn’t say that you’re necessarily disappointed when you find out those guys aren’t playing, but at the same time, you do want to go out there and beat what you believe is a very good opponent when they’re at their best, so that you can say you’re better than them, and they don’t have any excuses,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. “But this is a tough week and sometimes things happen to guys that don’t allow them to be out there on Sunday, and that’s just the way it is. We can’t really put too much thought into that. We’ve just got to go out there and play the game. A win’s not going to be any different to us just because one of their guys isn’t playing.”
And Pittsburgh shouldn’t expect much sympathy from the Ravens, who have played the last three games without a pair of defensive starters in inside linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb.
“We don’t really concern ourselves with injuries,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We haven’t concerned ourselves with our own team’s injuries. Why are we going to concern ourselves with somebody else’s injuries? Our focus is going to be on playing the team that we’re going to play – it always is – and playing as well as we can play.”