The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers hold one of the toughest rivalries in the NFL. Both Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have lived this rivalry for quite some time.
For Suggs, that means giving Roethlisberger a little razzing ahead of their Week 4 matchup.
Roethlisberger has placed the blame for Pittsburgh’s offense not doing as well this season. But Suggs, ever the jokester, made it seem as though Roethlisberger was simply bating Baltimore before they square off on Sunday.
The Steelers’ offense has been uncharacteristically bad so far this season. Running back Le’Veon Bell hasn’t looked like himself after holding out this preseason and outside of wide receiver Antonio Brown, there hasn’t been the same big plays many have come to expect out of Pittsburgh. Their offense currently ranks No. 17 in points scored, No. 22 in yards and even worse, No. 30 in rushing yards.
Suggs’ comments are a fun extension of this rivalry — one that has not always been this gentle. Suggs especially has been harsh on this matchup, once telling reporters that he owns Roethlisberger’s “ass.”
Ben Roethlisberger is having a rough 2017. Through three games, he’s thrown for only 741 yards and a career-low 6.7 yards per pass. It’s been bad enough for the two-time Super Bowl champion to call himself out after Week 3’s surprising overtime loss to the Bears.
But Terrell Suggs, Pro Bowl linebacker for Roethlisberger’s arch rival Baltimore Ravens, isn’t buying into the veteran quarterback’s slow start.
“He’s setting us up,” he told reporters Wednesday. “Yeah, you know, he’s playing mind games, the rat bastard. He’s setting us up. Tell Ben I’m on to his tricks. I know what he’s doing. I’m not going to let him fool me with trickery and Jedi mind tricks.”
It’s not the first time Suggs has questioned a supposedly diminished Roethlisberger before facing him on the field. When a knee injury forced the big quarterback to miss time in 2016, Suggs fully expected to see him back on the field in time to face Baltimore.
Roethlisberger wound up starting that game, but completed barely 50 percent of his passes in a Pittsburgh loss.
This time, there’s no doubt Roethlisberger will take the field — the question is which quarterback the Ravens will see. The Steeler is mired in a nine-game stretch in which he’s thrown for fewer than 300 yards per contest, his longest streak since 2008. He’s unlikely to end that skid Sunday — in 19 games against Baltimore, he’s only broken the 300-yard barrier twice.
Despite their intense rivalry on the field and playful one off it, Roethlisberger still has plenty of respect for the linebacker who has tormented him for more than a decade.
“This game is crazy. It’s a special game. I am still here. Suggs is still over there. We’ve got a lot of respect for each other in this rivalry,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “Suggs is still him. He is still getting after it. A lot of respect for him doing it this long.”