Roethlisberger, who sports an 18-1 record as a starter during
the regular season, has missed the last two games after
undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on November
Roethlisberger suffered the injury in the first half of a
20-19 victory over the Ravens on October 31. He played the
entire game and led a late drive that Jeff Reed capped with a
37-yard field goal with 1:36 remaining.
In Roethlisberger's absence, veteran Charlie Batch won a pair
of starts. But Batch suffered a broken right hand in the
first half of last week's 34-21 victory over Cleveland.
Tommy Maddox, the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2002, will
likely start on Sunday for the Steelers. Ironically, Maddox
lost his job to Roethlisberger after suffering an elbow injury
against the Ravens here on September 19, 2004.
Maddox's return as the starter should be a brief one since
Roethlisberger is expected to return for next Monday night's
showdown against unbeaten Indianapolis.
After Roethlisberger suffered a left knee injury earlier this
year, Maddox lost a start against Jacksonville. He completed
just 11-of-28 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown with
three interceptions, one of which was returned for a
touchdown in overtime.
Pittsburgh, which has won four straight games, is tied with
Cincinnati for first place in the AFC North.
Expected to challenge the Steelers in the division, the Ravens
have been among the NFL's biggest disappointments. The major
culprit has been an offense that is averaging a league-low 11.1
points per game.
"We're not a good football team right now, but we've got seven
opportunities, beginning this week, to change that," Ravens
coach Brian Billick said. "What this team is dealing with
right now is the confidence in itself and being able to turn,
or maintain, a certain amount of momentum."
After missing seven games with a hyperextended right big toe,
Kyle Boller made an unsuccessful return in last week's 30-3
loss at Jacksonville. Boller completed his first seven
passes but finished just 19-of-33 for 142 yards with three
Baltimore has lost four straight and is in last place in the
Matchup to watch: Hines Ward, who became the Steelers' all-time
leading receiver last week, faces left cornerback Chris
Series: The Steelers lead, 13-6, with six wins in the last
Next week: Pittsburgh visits Indianapolis, November 28
Baltimore visits Cincinnati, November 28
This divisional rivalry is sure to be a physical confrontation between two teams that do not like each other at all. On Halloween night in Pittsburgh, the Ravens played the Steelers extremely tough with Pittsburgh squeaking out a win at the end of the game. When these two teams get together, their records are not as important as the passion with which both franchises attack one another. The Ravens were beaten badly by the Jaguars on Sunday and while their season has seemingly fallen apart, nothing jells a team together quite like a rivalry game.
Injuries continue to deplete both teams -- the Ravens will once again be without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, and the Steelers will likely turn back to Tommy Maddox at quarterback with Charlie Batch and Ben Roethlisberger out due to injury. If you like physical football, this game will be well worth your time.