Monday night’s division battle between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers might be the final chance for Pro Bowl corner Denzel Ward to pick off Ben Roethlisberger, just like he did in his first game against the future Hall of Fame QB.
“Yeah, my first rookie game, I remember going against (former Steelers WR) Antonio Brown and getting two interceptions on Ben, so that definitely would be nice to repeat that this next game,” Ward said Tuesday, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “But the main focus is going in, doing our job and trying to get a win.”
With Monday potentially being Big Ben’s final home game in Pittsburgh, Ward expects a hype prime-time matchup between the 7-8 Browns and 7-7-1 Steelers.
“I think it’s going to be a playoff atmosphere,” Ward said. “That’s the type of game that it is. We need to go in there and focus all on Pittsburgh, and we have to go in there and find a way to get a win. I know it’s going to be a crazy atmosphere, though.”
Roethlisberger playing in what most believe will be his final game at Heinz Field will receive most of the attention in the lead-up to the bout.
Roethlisberger (91) has 82 more QB wins at Heinz Field than the next closest QB (Kordell Stewart, 9) since the stadium opened in 2001.
Big Ben’s 163 career wins in a Steelers jersey are fifth-most all-time since at least 1950, and the most by any QB to spend his entire career with one team. He’s 91-32 at home in his career — fourth-most home wins with one team in NFL history. Roethlisberger is the Steelers’ all-time leader in QB wins (163), home wins (91) and pass TDs (416).
Growing up a Browns fan, Ward remembers many of the butt-kickings Pittsburgh handed Cleveland under Big Ben’s guidance. The QB is 25-2-1 versus the Browns in the regular season (the tie being Ward’s two-pick rookie campaign) and 0-1 in the playoffs.
“I remember a lot,” Ward said. “I used to watch those guys growing up. The play in the back of the end zone to Santonio Holmes. When guys were there like Troy Polamalu, all those guys. I’ve been watching these guys since I was little. It’s definitely an honor to take the field against Ben Roethlisberger, watching him since I was a kid and just compete against him.”
The Steelers have finished .500 or better in every season of Big Ben’s career. They could clinch an 18th straight season — 15 under Mike Tomlin — with a win over the Browns Monday night in prime time.
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