SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 19: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is hit by lineback Aldon Smith #99 of the San Francisco 49ers during the game at Candlestick Park on December 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Roethlisberger fumbled on the play. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger made an appearance on ESPN Radio (h/t Matt Maiocco) and had some intriguing comments about the 49ers kicking his butt over and over again last December. Big Ben was dealing with a significant ankle injury, but elected to play against the fierce 49ers pass rush, and he paid the price. The 49ers sacked him three times, forced a pair of fumbles and generally made his life miserable all night long.
After the game, Roethlisberger made a comment about how he "was probably the best 49er tonight." In his radio interview today, he was asked about teams targeting him and he specifically mentioned how the 49ers might have gone after his ankle after plays ended:
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.
I'm not really calling BS on the possibility that the 49ers might have tweaked his ankle at the bottom of the pile. It is a topic often discussed as post-play shenanigans are nothing new in the NFL. But given that the 49ers were all over Roethlisberger that night, it is still amusing to note his comments.