Ben Roethlisberger sang the praises of the Chargers defense on Wednesday, a defense that is ranked sixth overall in the AFC, fifth against both the run and pass. It's a defense he knows is going to come after him this week, especially after an outing where there were four turnovers on offense.
"They're an all-around good defense," said Roethlisberger. "Top 10 against the pass. Top 10 against the run. Top 10 overall. I think any time you talk about good defenses you start with pass rush, and they have two really good ends who get after the quarterback."
It didn't take long for the line of questioning to change though because of the connection with Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Roethlisberger, Rivers and Eli Manning were all selected in the first-round of the 2004 NFL Draft and will always have a connection. Manning went No. 1 overall, Rivers went fourth, and Roethlisberger went 11th overall.
"It's pretty cool, especially when we get compared to the 1983 class, (Dan) Marino, (Jim) Kelly, (John) Elway, those guys," said Roethlisberger. "It's pretty neat. All three of us still playing. They have had a lot of success. It's cool to be a part of it."
And all three of them have played their careers with one team. Yes, there was the draft night swap that had the Chargers and Giants trading, sending Manning to the Giants and Rivers to the Chargers. But other than for that split second they have all been with one team.
"It's pretty rare," said Roethlisberger. "You look at guys who have played this long, to be on one team it doesn't happen very often. I know I am blessed and lucky to be here and be here my whole career. I know those guys would tell you the same thing."
Rivers, who was just named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, led the Chargers to victory last week against the Cardinals, starting off the game completing 25-of-25 passes, the first time in NFL history a quarterback started a game like that.
"He is an MVP caliber player, playing at an MVP level now," said Roethlisberger. "What he did last week was pretty spectacular…25 in a row. It's easy because he is a quarterback to keep track of what he is doing.
"It's fun to watch a guy like that play. You say 37 (years old), and you look at guys who are older than him, (Tom) Brady, (Drew) Brees, that are playing at a high level. It tells you if you take care of yourself you can still be successful later in your career."
More from Ben:
On what Ryan Switzer brings to the offense:
"Just be dependable. Be a guy who is where he's supposed to be. Tough little booger. Makes a lot of plays. Gets hit a lot. Doesn't make the same mistakes twice.
He hasn't been here very long. I think you see what guys can do when they have been here a year or two. I think we could keep getting better as I learn more about him, him about me. In terms of knowing the offense, he knows it well."
On no sense of panic after the loss to Denver:
"There is no panic. We are just fine. We are spoiled to win six in a row. You always have that good feeling after games and then you lose one. It refocuses you. It gets you back on track for what you need for that fourth quarter of the football season playing your best football. That's what we need."
On how important playoff seeding is as you get in the stretch run:
"The first two seeds are important to get that bye, but it doesn't guarantee you getting to the championship game. We have done it from all of the seeds. Getting in is most important. Getting one of the first two byes is a big deal. We have a lot of games in front of us we have to take care of first."