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Cowher: Big Ben had 100.4 degree fever, not 104

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was among the Steelers who didn't look
sharp in Pittsburgh's 9-0 loss at Jacksonville on Monday night. However, coach Bill Cowher said his ill quarterback wasn't as sick as reported by ESPN.

Roethlisberger had flu-like symptoms during the game that were
unrelated to the appendectomy, but Cowher said reports that his
quarterback had a 104-degree fever were erroneous and that, in
fact, Roethlisberger's temperature was 100.4.

Roethlisberger
completed 17 of 32 passes for 141 yards and threw two
interceptions.

The quarterback was making his first appearance of the season
after a tumultuous few months. He was in a serious motorcycle
accident June 12 and, seemingly fully recovered from the resulting
facial surgery, underwent an emergency appendectomy Sept. 3.

Ben Roethlisberger still needs more help from the running game, which didn't do the job Monday night against the Jaguars. Willie Parker is a home-run hitter in the backfield, but he doesn't get the 4- and 5-yard gains that eventually set up third-and-3 and third-and-4 situations.

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"When you go from preseason to regular season, everybody's
going through that period of acclimation to the speed of the
game," Cowher said. "The speed does go up going into the regular
season, but it does for the other team, as well. But when you come
into it the second week of the season and [the opponent] already
has been through that first week of acclimation, it's tough."

Pittsburgh produced only 152 yards of offense and advanced past
midfield only once -- to the Jaguars 46. But the Steelers' 26 yards
on the ground was more of a culprit, and Cowher said he never
considered inserting backup quarterback Charlie Batch, who played
well the previous week in a win over Miami.

Cowher noted that Roethlisberger and top receiver Hines Ward had
not even practiced together for more than a month until last week.
Ward sat out much of training camp with a hamstring injury.

"There's no substitute for playing time," Cowher said. "And
we have [now] gotten Ben that."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.