Wolfley: Memories of Ben

The following is an excerpt from an article authored by Steelers radio color analyst Craig Wolfley for a special Ben Roethlisberger-focused edition of Steelers Digest, the official print publication of the Pittsburgh Steelers. You can subscribe to Steelers Digest today here >>>

The flash of power unfolded before me much like a lightning strike announcing the arrival of an oncoming storm. First the flash of light, then the crack of thunder. Ravens DT Haloti Ngata, 350-pounds of Polynesian pachyderm, flashed and threw a powerful uppercut while pass rushing from the 3-technique he had lined up in, across from the outside shoulder of superb Steelers OG Ramon Foster. Ngata threw an uppercut that might have uprooted an oak tree. Foster was in trouble, and he knew it. Trying with all his might to re-route the grinding attack of Ngata, Foster tried to flatten out Ngata's inside rush into center Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey saw it late, and tried desperately at the last second to drill the rampaging Ngata, but to no avail. As Ngata passed by Roethlisberger, he swung his left hand and hit Ben right in the grille. I mean it was a wicked shot.

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Ngata got the sack, but he got much more than that. I watched from the sidelines as Ben lay flat on his back on the turf at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, willing him, in my mind to get up. And he did. Just as he always did.

Ben got to his feet with the help of Foster, and it was noticeable right away. Blood poured from the nose of Ben as he walked/staggered back to the Steelers sidelines with the team doctors and trainers circling around him. Ben made it to the bench and sat down. I was close enough to see something didn't look quite right. Yeah, not only was the blood pouring, but Roethlisberger's nose was smeared across his face.

Ben got the NASCAR pit crew version of team docs and trainers trying to stop the flow of blood. It had been a sledgehammer of a hit, and the catcher's mitt sized hand of Ngata had crushed Ben's nose. I told Tunch and Bill Hillgrove, as well as Steelers Nation listening on the Gameday radio broadcast that Ben had a broken nose. At first Tunch didn't believe me. As I said that night though, I've boxed enough myself, and cornered enough fighters to know what a broken nose looks like. That's a broken nose.