- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer
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There’s a reason he is known as Big Ben and, at 6-feet-5, 241 pounds, he is hard to take down.
But the Oakland Raiders' defense did just enough to knock him around and, by the time Oakland’s 21-18 victory was official, the Raiders matched a season-high with five sacks ... even if Roethlisberger simply shook off at least two others.
"Yeah, you have to hold on for dear life a little bit with Ben Roethlisberger," said Raiders rookie linebacker Sio Moore, who led Oakland with two sacks. "He’s a good quarterback, and he knows how to escape guys. Half the time you think he’s sacked.
"The biggest thing we were saying throughout the week was when he’s down, he’s not down, so keep going."
Roethlisberger had a passer rating of 70.1, his worst since last Dec. 23 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He threw for 275 yards on 29 of 45 passing with a touchdown and two interceptions, one each by Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter.
“They’re good, good defense,” Roethlisberger said of Oakland. “They got after us and they were better than us.”
It was also the third time in his career Roethlisberger lost in Oakland.
"This is a great place to come play," he said. "The fans are passionate, and they just beat us."
The Raiders' defense, which also had five hits on Roethlisberger, limited the Steelers to 35 yards rushing, eight yards in the first half.
A year ago, in the Raiders' 34-31 comeback win, Roethlisberger lit the Raiders up for 384 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions on 36 of 49 passing for a 123.2 QB rating.
The difference this time around?
"We are better in the secondary," Allen said. "We do a better job of covering. We do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us."
"It was important that we were getting him down on the first try," Houston said. "That was one of the goals of our defense."
Added safety Charles Woodson: “For the most part, when we got hands on Ben, we got him down. If he was escaping, somebody else would get him down, and that’s huge against Ben, because he makes so many plays, shedding guys off him, spinning out of tackles, and today our guys got him to the ground."