Ben Roethlisberger has kept his youthful athleticism and is adding a beautiful mind. He talks here…
Not only was Roethlisberger's 119.4 passer rating his best of the season, he took only one sack and played like the quarterback who led the Steelers to three Super Bowls.
No one would trade him this week.
"That goes to everybody," Roethlisberger said of the award. "So many guys were involved in that. But that was last week's award. We're working for this week now."
It was Roethlisberger's 10th such award, and the first since his Week 8 performance in 2011 against the New England Patriots.
In the 30 games between awards, Roethlisberger has posted a 90.2 passer rating (92.3 rest of career) but the team went 15-15.
Perhaps the trade talk inspired him last Sunday. But Roethlisberger talked only about carrying last Sunday's momentum into Cleveland.
"We put up some points," he said. "We did some pretty good things offensively, so we'd like to keep it rolling. We know this is going to be a tough test on the road against a really good defense."
The Browns have the NFL's fourth-ranked defense (307 yards per game), including the fourth-ranked pass defense and the eighth-ranked run defense. The Browns allow the fewest pass yards per attempt (5.9) in the league.
"Maybe one of the best cornerbacks in the league," Roethlisberger said of Joe Haden. "They've got an all-around good defense. No holes that we can find right now."
Roethlisberger, from Findlay, Ohio, is 15-1 against the Browns. He has beat them five times in a row.
"We've put some good games together when we've played them," he said. "It's an AFC North rival, so any time you play them you want to step your game up a little bit. It doesn't hurt that it's from kind of the hometown where I grew up a little bit, so you get a little extra motivation."
Once more about the trade rumors?
"I love being in Pittsburgh," Roethlisberger said. "I'm extremely happy. These are all, obviously, new. Every week it's something fun. [Jerricho Cotchery] asked me today, 'What is the new rumor this week?' We're always excited to see what Ian [Rapoport] is going to make up this week."
Defensive end Brett Keisel (foot) and reserve safety Shamarko Thomas (ankle) missed practice, but the offensive line welcomed back left guard Ramon Foster, who missed the Lions game with an ankle injury while backup Guy Whimper struggled.
BIG PLAY RAY
The Steelers signed former Pitt running back Ray Graham to the practice squad and the 5-9, 199-pound rookie couldn't wipe the smile from his face.
"They told me they had opportunities for me here and wanted me to come here and learn the playbook, learn everything as fast as I can," said Graham, who built a friendly relationship with Mike Tomlin during his years in the same practice facility with Pitt.
"Talking to him is like having a regular conversation with one of your friends," Graham said.
Graham was the nation's second-leading rusher until he tore the ACL in his right knee in the eighth game of his 2011 junior season at Pitt.
Up until that point, Graham had rushed for 2,229 yards in three seasons with an average of 6.0 per carry.
In his senior season, after returning from the injury, Graham rushed for 1,042 yards at 4.7 per carry, but ran a 4.72 40 at the combine and wasn't drafted. He signed with the Houston Texans but didn't make the team.
"I'm healthy," Graham said. "I'm ready to go. You're going to see once I get a chance.
"I'm very excited, man. I'm just ready to go and help the team."
ROONEY DONATION FOR CONCUSSION PROGRAM
Steelers President Art Rooney II will present a check to the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program on Thursday, November 21, at 3:30 p.m.
The donation, which was collected from proceeds from the 2013 Steelers Nation: Black & Gold Style Fashion Show and Taste of the Steelers event, will be presented to Dr. Micky Collins, Clinical and Executive Director of the Concussion Program for concussion research.