Sports

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger focused on Bengals, not Patriots

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger focused on Bengals, not Patriots

Despite the matchup being a few weeks away, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is already looking to what he's calling "Part I" of the rivalry with the Patriots.

"Honestly, he's the head coach", Roethlisberger said during his weekly radio show Tuesday.

In an interview with NBC's Tony Dungy (which aired during Sunday Night Football), Tomlin acknowledged the "elephant in the room", discussing the December 17 game against the AFC rival Patriots.

"For me, I am 100 percent on Cincinnati and nothing else".

"But probably, if we're both doing what we're supposed to, the second one is really going to be a big game", Tomlin explained to Dungy. "I mean they want to ruin our playoff chances".

The Bengals flex their muscles on November 15, 2009 to out-Steeler the Steelers to win the brutal War of 18-12 that gives them all the tiebreakers and puts them on the verge of a division sweep as well as in the hunt for a top AFC seed at 7-2. That part is to be expected - contending teams probably shouldn't bother suiting up on Sundays if they don't believe they should be winning a championship - but Tomlin gave a little extra in discussing the Week 15 meeting between the Steelers and the Patriots.

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"(Dungy) asked for non-coach speak, so I was having a conversation with an old friend", Tomlin said. We couldn't deny that if we wanted to.

But the way Roethlisberger sees it, the Steelers are 9-2 this season because they are focused on the next opponent, not other teams down the line.

"Yeah, I think we can", Roethlisberger said. I know there's a lot of Patriots talk and a lot of Steelers-Patriots and all that stuff.

"I'm going to embrace the elephant in the room". For the players, we don't think that way.

Any AFC North battle is always intense, but the Steelers heading to Cincinnati to take on a 5-6 Bengals team who's pushing for the playoffs could make for a tough spot.


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