Ben Roethlisberger Claims San Francisco 49ers May Have Targeted Sprained Ankle In 2011
The Pittsburgh Steelers had hoped in Week 15 of 2011 that an ankle injured Ben Roethlisberger would still be able to defeat the San Francisco 49ers and catch the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. Instead Roethlisberger was horrid, throwing three picks, getting sacking three times and playing just like we expected a man with a badly-sprained ankle would play.
Now Big Ben, appearing on Wednesday’s Dan Patrick Show claimed his bad ankle was targeted during that game. When specifically asked if an opposing team targeted a specific injury Ben responded:
“Um, wow, that’s tough. I don’t really complain about that stuff, either. But I think when we played San Fran, I felt like there were some things going on, some extra … Now, obviously, I did have the ankle and I was playing, so there was kind of a bulls-eye on there anyway. But for the most part, guys play tough and you go into a game expecting it. I expect to be tougher than them.”
It is likely that San Francisco 49ers fans will blow Ben Roethlisberger’s quote out of the water, but keep in mind Ben never said anything about a “bounty” and its likely that a players intuition on the opposing team will be to go after the weak spot on offense, which in that game happened to be Big Ben’s busted up ankle.
If anyone was “targeting” Ben Roethlisberger I would have to put my money on rookie Aldon Smith who racked up 2.5 sacks and seven hits on the quarterback, he also managed two tackles for loss and seven total tackles.
In the meantime, an opposing player would be foolish not to utilize the weakness of an injured player to their advantage and that appears to be what Roethlisberger was getting at, that he was simply targeted because the 49ers knew he was the weak link during that game.
Ben Roethlisberger went on to tell Dan Patrick:
“Sometimes you get guys — things happen under piles and, you know, the little extra twisting of the ankles and poking, things like that. But this whole bounty thing — I don’t know if I’d sit there and say, ‘Wow, that guy really tried to end my career.’ Honestly, I don’t know.”
So there you have it, weaknesses are exposed in the NFL, but does that really surprise anyone?