Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t at his best in the Thursday night loss to the Baltimore Ravens as he missed on several of his throws. Part of Roethlisberger’s accuracy problems in that game, however, might very well have been a result of the hard hit that took from Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw during the Steelers opening possession.
“I lost my breath instantly and remember hitting the ground thinking, ‘Boy, that hurt a lot.’ I kind of pride myself on not taking those big hits, but I sure as heck didn’t see it coming,” said Roethlisberger when recalling Upshaw’s hit during a Tuesday morning interview on 93.7 The Fan, according to Scott Brown of ESPN.com.
Roethlisberger, who has taken more than his fair share of hits during his career with the Steelers, said he’s still hurting from Upshaw burying himself into his chest and believes that might be one of the hardest hits his ever taken.
“This is easily right there with a close second,” said Roethlisberger, who finished the game 22-of-37 passing for 217 yards and an interception.
As for Upshaw, he was penalized 15 yards on the play for roughing the passer. During his Monday press conference, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was asked to weigh in on the hit being called an illegal one.
“I had a good conversation with Dean [Blandino], and it’s difficult [to assess], because the way the rules are written is one thing; what’s possible to accomplish is another thing, said Harbaugh. “There’s no way to coach Courtney out of that. He’s coming full speed, he’s getting down into the strike zone, and he’s keeping his eyes up. He can’t lift his head any higher than that. He also can’t get his head off to the side, because Ben’s moving, and also the fact that if he gets his head off to the side, he has a real good chance of missing the tackle or hurting himself by dropping his head.”
During his Tuesday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if he thought Roethlisberger was hurting the rest of the game after taking the hit from Upshaw.
“I’m sure he was,” said Tomlin. “That was a significant shot, but that comes with the territory and that’s something that he’s embraced over the years.”
Tomlin, however, wasn’t willing to blame Roethlisberger’s poor play in the game on that one hit.
“He’s not going to make excuses and I’m not either. He’s capable of playing better and we look forward to working hard so that it occurs this weekend,” said Tomlin.