Roethlisberger injured in 17-10 loss to Texans
HOUSTON (AP) - Ben Roethlisberger can take a hit.
But even a 6-foot-5, 241-pound guy has a tough time dealing with the beating he's endured this year.
The quarterback left Houston in a walking boot on his left foot after he was sacked five times and hurried eight more behind Pittsburgh's injury-plagued offensive line as the Steelers (2-2) lost to the Texans 17-10 on Sunday.
Roethlisberger hurt his foot on the second-to-last series when he was tackled from behind, but remained in the game until the end.
He limped into the locker room about 20 minutes after the game with his arms draped around a pair of Steelers employees and an ace bandage and a bag of ice wrapped around his injured foot. He sat alone at his chair with his head down and looked to be gazing at his foot for several minutes before putting on the walking boot to limp to the showers.
Roethlisberger had an X-ray after the game but said he didn't know the results.
The Steelers were without two regular starters on the offensive line Sunday. Roethlisberger has now been sacked 14 times this season and hurried 22 other times.
Still, he didn't blame Sunday's problems on his line.
"I've still got to make plays,'' Roethlisberger said. "I've got to make it easier on my guys and I didn't do that today.''
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said this week that he felt like they had the players to get the protection problems fixed, but he wasn't sure after the game.
"It depends on the health of the men,'' he said. "We'll rally and see who we have coming back, look at the men who played in this game and make those decisions at the appropriate time.''
Houston's Andre Johnson hurt his hamstring in the second quarter, but Arian Foster rushed for 155 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter to help the Texans (3-1) to the win.
Roethlisberger wasn't the only Steeler to be injured. Pittsburgh also lost running back Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring), linebacker James Harrison (eye), defensive end Aaron Smith (foot) and linebacker Jason Worilds (left quad) during the game.
Roethlisberger said he wasn't sure if he'd be able to play next week, but talked about how he played last year after breaking his other foot.
"You know me, if I can be out there, I'm going to be out there. That's so for next week too,'' he said. "If I can do it and if I have to cast it up - we saw I had to do that last year, I casted up my foot for the last half of the year. If we have to do it, I'll do it.''
Foster, meanwhile, finally looked healthy after weeks of nursing a left hamstring strain. He broke a 42-yard touchdown run with about 12 minutes left after the Steelers rallied to tie it at 10-all. Foster finished with 30 carries.
Matt Schaub threw a touchdown pass to Owen Daniels in the first half. The Texans led 10-0 at the break, and an ill-timed penalty cost them another touchdown.
On the final snap before the half, Danieal Manning blocked Shaun Suisham's field-goal attempt, and Johnathan Joseph scooped up the loose ball and ran 61 yards to the end zone. But Manning was flagged for an illegal block well behind Joseph, and the score was nullified.
Houston was on the move in the second quarter when Johnson pulled up without getting touched.
The Texans seemed to lose their edge after that. The drive stalled and Neil Rackers kicked a 22-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead. Rackers improved to 10-for-10 this season.
Harrison didn't see a reason for optimism despite Pittsburgh playing better in the second half Sunday.
"I'm not happy with any of it,'' he said. "It's a loss. I'm not trying to look for a silver lining in any of it. We played like garbage. Period. We stink right now.''
Schaub threw a 30-yard pass to Daniels to the Steelers 42 early in the fourth. Foster took it from there, breaking outside and outrunning the Pittsburgh secondary to the end zone.
Antonio Smith and Mario Williams sacked Roethlisberger, and linebacker Connor Barwin swatted away Roethlisberger's fourth-down pass with 2:38 left.
The Steelers had one last gasp after Houston had another touchdown wiped away by a penalty. Joseph intercepted Roethlisberger's pass from the end zone and returned it for a score, but rookie J.J. Watt was flagged for roughing the passer.
The Texans got an interception that counted by Jason Allen to end the drive and clinch the win.
Another Houston penalty in the first half wiped out a sack and forced fumble by Barwin.
Foster got going early, gaining 41 yards in all on Houston's first drive. He had a pair of 5-yard runs to the Pittsburgh 1, and with the Steelers keying on him, Daniels was open and Schaub found him for an easy touchdown.
Williams sacked Roethlisberger on the fourth play of the second half. But Pittsburgh's line starting holding up better, and Roethlisberger threw a 23-yard pass to Antonio Brown to the Houston 15. Mendenhall scored on a 3-yard run, his last play before leaving with the injury.
Backup Isaac Redman broke an 18-yard run across midfield to start the Steelers' next series. Pittsburgh chewed up the last five minutes of the third quarter with the drive, and Suisham tied it with a 26-yard field goal.
Notes: The Texans have outscored their opponents 76-13 in the first half this season. ... The Steelers failed to generate a turnover and are minus 10 in turnover margin this season.
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