Sep 24, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) backs up to pass during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

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Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has another challenge in primetime vs Ravens

Pittsburgh's quarterback weighs in on the rivalry with Baltimore.

September 28, 2018 - 6:52 pm
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By: Kyle J. Andrews

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had many battles against the Ravens throughout his career. He has been banged up -- losing some games and winning others. The back-and-forth is to be expected from playing against Baltimore, as they are one of Pittsburgh's most-heated division rivals.

"I think it's familiarity," Roethlisberger said of Pittsburgh's rivalry with Baltimore. "I think it's AFC North. It's two teams that are very like-minded -- defense, tough. Offense -- you're just trying to get points when you're playing against each other. So, I just think it's a lot of that."

He has had to fend off the likes of Terrell Suggs and other players on Baltimore's defense. The competitive cat and mouse game between the defense and attempting to bring down the slippery Roethlisberger has been one that has caused both teams to either jump in jubilation or tear their hair out. 

"Yes and no," said Roethlisberger on if he enjoys the rivalry. "Yes, in the sense that it's just -- man, I remember the days and even now still going against that guy -- [No.] 55 [Terrell Suggs] over there. Ray Lewis, [Haloti] Ngata, Ed Reed -- the list goes on and on over there of guys that I just have the utmost respect for that are Hall of Fame players, that you just enjoy playing football and going against these guys.

"It's fun in that sense. It's not fun, because typically after this you feel like you've been in about five or six car wrecks. So, it takes a toll on your body. So, in a sense, it's not fun, but in a sense of being a purist and loving football -- this is a great rivalry."

Last time Roethlisberger played against the Ravens was on December 10 last year. He completed 44-of-66 passes for 506 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, winning a 39-38 shootout. That particular win gave the Steelers the AFC North crown. The 36-year old has played in 21 games against the Ravens. In those 21 games, he holds a 12-9 record. 

"Absolutely," Roethlisberger said in response to passing that many times if he has to again. "Last year, I think the first time we played in Baltimore, we ran the ball a lot, then the second half we had to throw it. I've said before, if the final score is 2-0 -- that's fine. If you have to score in the 60s, then so be it. I think either team just wants to take a win home after this game."

The Steelers will play against Baltimore under the lights at 8:30 on Sunday Night Football. For Pittsburgh, this is where they are at their best -- winning 25 of its last 32 home games at night since 2001 -- the year Heinz Field opened. The Steelers' .781 winning percentage at Heinz Field at home in primetime is the best and its 25 wins are tied with Denver and Green Bay as the most in the NFL since 2001. 

"I got asked the same question earlier by our [media members]," Roethlisberger said about having another primetime Ravens-Steelers game. "'Why?' and 'Do you feel like it's any kind of...' It feels like it's always this way. It feels like it's always a primetime game and that's because that's what the fans want to see. It's what the NFL wants to see. This game is always something special. It is kind of par for the course, if you will."

If Suggs gets near Roethlisberger: "If he gets close to me, I'm asking for the flag."

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