American Football: Roethlisberger the rookie has nerves of steel
Tuesday 09 November 2004
Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers made a claim for a Super Bowl challenge by ending the perfect record of the New England Patriots. On Sunday, to prove it was no fluke, they repeated the trick by destroying the previously unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles 27-3.
The Eagles, the last team in the NFL to taste defeat, were simply overwhelmed by their Pennsylvania rivals, who dominated all aspects of the contest. Without their running back, the former Eagle Duce Staley, Pittsburgh turned instead to the veteran Jerome Bettis, and he enjoyed his best performance in three years with 149 rushing yards.
Bettis represents the old, but it is the new that is causing the bigger stir in the steel city. The rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was again outstanding, making all the right reads as he guided his side to an early 21-point lead with the poise of a veteran.
Since replacing the injured Tommy Maddox, the youngster has won all six of his starts, demonstrating the command and experience that has led many to liken him to a young Dan Marino.
"He's remarkable," the Philadelphia linebacker Mark Simoneau admitted. "He doesn't look like a rookie, he looks like a guy who's been around four or five years. He made plays all day long."
Having been bewitched by Roethlisberger last week, the Patriots returned to health by thrashing St Louis 40-22 in Missouri. The defending Super Bowl champions bewildered their opponents, with even the kicker Adam Vinatieri throwing a touchdown pass on a fake field goal attempt.
Both New York teams were undone by unfancied rivals. The Jets were brought down to earth in Buffalo, where the powerful running of Willis McGahee ensured a 22-17 Bills win, while the Giants were surprisingly toppled at home by the injury-plagued Chicago Bears, 28-21.
The big play of the weekend came in Baltimore, where the Ravens' Ed Reed set a record with a 106-yard interception return for a touchdown in the home side's 27-13 triumph over the Cleveland Browns.
The play came at a crucial time, with the Browns threatening to tie the scores late on. Reed, however, correctly read the intentions of the Cleveland quarterback, Jeff Garcia, and his record-setting return made matters safe.
"He seems to always be around when you need it," said Reed's head coach Brian Billick.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Latest in Sport
Think before you ink: Manchester United fan gets Sir Alex Ferguson tattoo - and will regret it for the rest of his life
Paul Scholes column: Rio Ferdinand and John Terry row was bad but they could have kept playing for England
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Mesut Ozil given the worst rating possible by German newspaper Bild after poor performance
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City report: Jerome Boateng thrashes home winner against former team
- 2 Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...
£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...
£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Long term SIMS School Administr...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...