Bengals coach Marvin Lewis liked one question more than any other earlier this week. He’s sort of a harsh judge when it comes to reporter’s questions, especially ones that try to lure him into revealing a part of the game plan.
“To be specific is not what I do,” said Lewis, in response to one of those.
This one he liked a lot, calling it the best question of the day: If you didn’t have to face Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice a year, how much would you enjoy watching him?
“He’s an incredible talent,” Lewis said. “As I told our team, he’s a dynamic quarterback. His ability to delivery the football, if it has to be timely, he’s timely with it. He’s accurate with it. If he’s got to avoid the rush and make a play, he does that.
“We’ve watched him do it on one leg. We’ve watched him do it beat up with bad hand. In many different ways, he just continues to play. When you have a football team, you rally around a guy like that, and he’s done a great job.”
Roethlisberger, the former Miami University star, will try to improve his 14-5 career record against the Bengals on Monday night. He has an 86.7 career passer rating against Cincinnati, just below his career average of 92.5.
Roethlisberger battled the Carson Palmer-led Bengals for many years. He beat Andy Dalton three times before the Bengals won 13-10 in Pittsburgh last December.
Roethlisberger threw an interception with 14 seconds left in that game, leading to the game-winning kick by Mike Nugent. That victory put the Bengals in the playoffs. Roethlisberger had a 58.6 percent quarterback rating, his worst of the season, in that game.
“Everyone talks about Steelers-Ravens and how physical that is, but this game in the last couple years has really started to get a lot more physical,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s a very good game and a battle of wits, defenses and offense. It’s always been good since I’ve been in the league. It’s been fun, especially going back home to Cincinnati and Ohio to play. This has become a really good rivalry in the whole NFL, I believe.”
Roethlisberger had another sub-par game Sunday in the Steelers’ season opener, a 16-9 loss to the Titans. He completed a high percentage of his passes, 21 of 33, but threw for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His rating was 76.7.
The Bengals defense will test him again Monday.
“No disrespect to the secondary,” Roethlisberger said, “but that front seven really gets at it, so those are the guys that are hitting me. Those are the guys I have to be aware of. They create a lot of mismatch problems, a lot of issues in the backfield in the run game and the pass game. That’s definitely something we have to have our antennas up about.”
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