You may have heard that Baltimore Ravens veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs made some comments yesterday regarding Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and his perceived penchant for playing up injuries leading up to a game, only to end up playing in spite of how dire it may have appeared during the week.
Suggs told Aditi Kinkhabwala that he has “seen this movie before” with Roethlisberger, who is trying to work his way back after suffering a meniscus tear and looking to return to the field 20 days after having it operated upon. But given his ability to cite past knowledge, he should probably understand that this ‘movie’ often has not featured one of its leading stars.
Over the course of his 13-year career, Roethlisberger has missed 20 games in total, with 16 of them coming due to injury. Of those 16 games that he has missed because of injury-related reasons, six of them have come against the Ravens.
In other words, for nearly 40 percent of the games that he has sat out with injuries, the Steelers’ opponent has been Baltimore. And Pittsburgh has struggled mightily to win without him. They have gone just 1-5 in the games that Roethlisberger has missed due to injury—and 1-6 overall, including the loss during his four-game suspension in 2010.
The most recent loss came just last season, when the Steelers fielded a floundering Mike Vick at quarterback. In spite of the offense being unable to get out of its own way, they still had a chance to win, if not for two missed fourth-quarter field goals.
That, though, was right after Roethlisberger suffered an MCL injury. The Steelers played Baltimore twice in a three-game span during his 2012 injury, losing the first game 13-0. Two games later, in the game before Roethlisberger returned, Charlie Batch secured Pittsburgh’s lone victory over the Ravens without Roethlisberger since he was drafted, in seven opportunities—eight if you include the first game of his career, when he stepped in mid-game due to injury in 2004. Pittsburgh lost that game, but won its next 15.
A Tommy Maddox-led offense dropped a game to the Ravens in 2005. In addition to a season-finale loss when Pittsburgh already clinched the division in 2007, Baltimore also defeated Pittsburgh in the 2009 game that Roethlisberger sat out while dealing with a concussion.
So Suggs’ confidence that Roethlisberger is obviously going to play really isn’t well-founded at all. Maddox, Vick, Batch, Dennis Dixon, and Byron Leftwich have all lost games leading the Steelers’ offense against the Ravens over the course of the previous 11 seasons. Batch is the only one to have started more than one, going 1-1 in those two games.
The good news, if Roethlisberger indeed needs another week recovering from his meniscus injury, is that the Ravens have never faced Landry Jones. The bad news is that the Steelers’ backups always lose their first start against them. That is one movie that we have seen all too often over the years.