Sat, 16 Jan 2021

Ben: 'To me that's what this rivalry is'

The Steelers
25 Nov 2020, 05:30 GMT+10

Teresa Varley

The Steelers are preparing to take on the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving night, a special Thursday Night Football game that doesn't just have them playing in primetime, but also playing in the spotlight on a holiday.

Ben Roethlisberger know what it means, especially taking a perfect 10-0 record into the game, while the Ravens are fighting at 6-4 and coming off two straight losses.

"It's AFC North, primetime, Thanksgiving," said Roethlisberger, who said with a short week he doesn't expect to throw this week. "It's got all of the makings for a Steelers-Ravens matchup. It doesn't matter who's hurt, who's winning, who's losing. I think they have lost two in a row. I don't know this. Has a (John) Harbaugh-led Ravens team ever lost three in a row? I don't know this. We anticipate them coming in and we just have to give them our best shot."

The answer to your question Ben is, yes, in 2018 the Ravens lost three in a row, including the third on being to the Steelers.

This week is a new challenge for the Ravens, who announced on Monday that they placed running backs Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins, and defensive tackle Brandon Williams on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. In addition, the Ravens cancelled practice on Tuesday and are strictly working remotely for meetings.

Roethlisberger was asked about playing the Ravens under the circumstances on Thursday night, something he said is a part of life in 2020.

"This is just an unusual year when it comes to everything we have to do and everyone has to do," said Roethlisberger. "We saw it early when it came to the Titans game and byes and all of those kinds of things. What are you going to do? You just have to do what they tell you and go play ball."

There is a chance he will have the opportunity to play ball with another weapon at his disposal this week, tight end Vance McDonald. McDonald was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and is scheduled to practice this week. Roethlisberger said having him back is definitely a boost.

"He epitomizes what it is to be an unselfish football player," said Roethlisberger of McDonald. "It's good to have him back. That locker next to me has been vacant for a while. To see him in there today, to have him on the practice field, he's got more energy than the rest of us right now which is good to see. We're excited to get everybody back. Anybody that is out for a while with injury or this, to get them back on the field as a brother, as a guy we can use, we are excited for."

The combination of having McDonald and Eric Ebron at tight end just adds to the multitude of weapons the Steelers have on an already explosive offense.

"(He's) another receiver if you will," said Roethlisberger of Ebron. "You can move him around, you can put him outside, you can put him inside in the bunch, move the chains with him. You can use him late in the game where he caught his touchdown. You don't need a lot of receivers on the field because he is a de facto receiver. The fun thing about 'E' is he is still growing in this offense because we didn't have the offseason in terms of minicamps and that stuff. I think we are still learning a lot about each other."

He said it:

Roethlisberger on his favorite memory from the Steelers-Ravens rivalry:

"I feel like a lot of them have come from the defensive side. Troy (Polamalu) jumping over piles, or one-handed interceptions. There was a home game, it might have been Troy's interception, and we watched film the next day and you couldn't even see the play because the camera was shaking so much because the stadium was rocking. To me that's what this rivalry is, that is what Heinz Field is, that is what makes our fans special. I can see that image in my head right now of the whole film shaking and not being able to see what is going on because the place is so excited."

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