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Pressuring Roethlisberger a must for Browns

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Posted Dec. 29, 2010 @ 1:58 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Each Wednesday, we'll highlight a Browns player, coach, executive, personnel group or other area of the team that is most under scrutiny. This week, we take a closer look at the Browns' pass rush.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked three times or more in 8-of-11 starts this season. Guess who's the only team not to sack him?  Interestingly enough, it's the Browns, who sacked him eight times — eight times! — in a single game in 2009. 

In the first meeting with Cleveland, in Week Six, Roethlisberger — making his first start of the season  — threw for 257 yards and three TD in a 28-10 Pittsburgh victory. It marked just the 11th time in 97 career starts that Roethlisberger wasn't sacked, and he is 11-0 in those starts. 

Overall, Roethlisberger has been sacked at least once 29 of his last 31 regular-season starts dating back to 2008. The only games in which he wasn't sacked were in the first game vs. Cleveland in Week Six … and the '08 regular-season finale vs. Cleveland, when Roethlisberger suffered a concussion and didn't finish the game. 

When the Browns took down Roethlisberger eight times in their memorable 13-6 upset of Pittsburgh last December, they pressured Roethlisberger multiple ways, both with the blitz and conventional pass rushes. With the Steelers' pass protection not the team's strong suit, the need to pressure Roethlisberger is rather apparent and the Browns have little to lose. Let's see how creative Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan gets on Sunday. 

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