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Led by Big Ben and Mendenhall, Steelers taking care of ball

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Posted Dec. 18, 2010 @ 9:51 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

One factor that doesn't hurt the Steelers' offense, even if should it sputter like it has somewhat recently, with only two offensive TDs in the last three games: Two of its key players are taking very good care of the ball. Through nine games, QB Ben Roethlisberger was averaging fewer interceptions per attempt than he ever had in his career, throwing just five picks in 291 attempts in nine starts. Roethlisberger's improvement in this regard began a season ago, when he threw three fewer picks than in '08 despite attempting 37 more passes. (Roethlisberger has three fumbles this year, losing one.) RB Rashard Mendenhall, meanwhile, had only two fumbles in 295 touches. Fumbling was a concern early in Mendenhall's career when he had three preseason fumbles as a rookie, but he has been sure-handed since taking over as the Steelers' starter in 2009. On the other side of the ledger, the Steelers have forced 30 turnovers in 13 games, highlighted by a half-dozen interceptions by SS Troy Polamalu, in the midst of an exceptional season, though he's doubtful for the Week 15 game vs. the Jets with an ankle injury.

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