Ben: 'It's not easy to play there'

Ben Roethlisberger couldn't help but smile when talking about playing in Cleveland on Sunday.

And he wasn't smiling at the thought of facing Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.

Roethlisberger was smiling because he loves games like this, two AFC North teams playing in front of a passionate fan base.

And he knows the Dawg Pound will be waiting for him and the Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium in a key game for both teams.

"It will be fun," said Roethlisberger. "Halloween. The fans are awesome. You can say what you want about the rivalry and this, that and the other, but the fans are awesome. They're passionate. It'll be exciting.

"It's a challenge. Like I said they're passionate. Anytime your fans have a nickname, or an area has a nickname, is pretty cool. They like to get on us and it's part of the game. Obviously when you go there and you play well and you win it has a little extra feeling of satisfaction, but it's not easy to play there."

Roethlisberger has found success there in the past, though. He has an 11-2-1 record playing in Cleveland but hasn't done so since 2018 when the two teams tied. He was on the Reserve/Injured List in 2019 and rested the final week in 2020 ahead of the playoffs.

He knows what it means to play in these types of rivalry games and said that he appreciates it more and more as he goes on in his career, especially being from Ohio himself as he is from Findlay.

"You have to," said Roethlisberger. "You appreciate the fans, you appreciate that environment, you appreciate the state of Ohio where I'm from. It's one of the things you look forward to going there and hopefully getting a win.

"I don't know this rivalry ever went away. Rivalries are great. AFC North football is always going to be rivals, and it's going to be great games."

One thing Roethlisberger knows is it will be a battle. And that goes back to facing the Browns defense, which is led by Garrett.

"He's the man," said Roethlisberger. "There's no doubt about it, he's one of the best in the NFL at what he does. But the additions that they have, from the d-line to secondary.

"They don't try and complicate or confuse you. They're just like we're just better than you we're going to line up and beat you and show you that we can do that. So that's where the challenge is going to come.

"The challenge this week is a really good defense. You can look at the offensive side of the ball how well they run the ball, but we're going against a defense that's really, really good. That's going to bring a whole new challenge. It's kind of those games that it doesn't matter at end of the day what the stats are, you just have got to win the football game."

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