|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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