With no Roethlisberger, Falcons catch break at Pittsburgh

Here's Ben Roethlisberger laughing at a mini-camp Monday. He must know something nobody else does. (AP photo)

Here's Ben Roethlisberger laughing at a Steelers' mini-camp Monday. He must know something nobody else does. (AP photo)

Timing is everything in an NFL schedule. That’s because weather, injuries and impending suspensions for knucklehead quarterbacks are significant factors.

For that reason alone, there’s a pretty good chance the Falcons’ 2010 season will get off to a good start. If the report by Pittsburgh radio station WDVE is accurate, the Falcons will open the year Sunday, Sept. 12 against the Steelers. The NFL releases the schedule tonight.

Understand, a road game at Pittsburgh isn’t necessarily good news. But the Falcons have known the Steelers would be a road opponent since the end of last season. Playing the first game at Pittsburgh all but ensures two things: 1) No snow; 2) No Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers’ quarterback is almost certain to get suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after recently being accused of sexual assault in Milledgeville, as well as other incidents Goodell likely will deem as being against the league’s code of conduct.

Unless Pittsburgh trades for, signs or drafts another quarterback, it will have to start either Dennis Dixon (who has one start in two seasons) or veteran Charlie Batch, who has four starts and has seen limited action since signing with Pittsburgh in 2002.

Safe to say the Falcons would have the edge at quarterback with Matt Ryan.

EARLIER TODAY

Countdown’s trouble spots: Milledgeville and Remerton?

You’re on the clock with the Falcons (and why not Thomas)?

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

53 comments Add your comment

Coons Fan

April 20th, 2010
4:43 pm

Coons Fan

April 20th, 2010
4:44 pm

Gotta like our chances on this one. With or without Big Ben, no injuries should put us in good situation

RSX

April 20th, 2010
4:48 pm

3rd

I like our chances tremendously.

Mettenberger/Roethlisberger?

April 20th, 2010
4:49 pm

Here’s the post from yesterday on the rivals.com UGA message board – does Mettenberger remind anyone else of this other “berger” mentioned above?

What really went down with the Mett situation

“He went down to Valdosta to visit a couple buddies from high school, one of whom I am good friends with. They went out and had some drinks and Mett got drunk and started touching a couple girls inappropriately, he got warned 3 different times by 2 of the bouncers to calm down or he was gonna get kicked out. He then went up underneath a girls skirt, a girl that worked there and has a BF, and not only did he just go up her skirt but her underwear as well. He then got kicked out and as he was arguing with the bouncers the cops came up and then asked what was going on. The bouncers just said he was acting stupid and they wanted him out of the bar, the cops asked to see his ID and he gave them his fake, they brought him over to the car and talked to him and told him to give them the fake ID’s and get one of his friends who hasnt been drinking to take him wherever he was staying. He wanted to argue with them so he got arrested. While he was with the cops the girls came out and told them what went on, the girls were given the option to press charges but declined and said they hope he gets everything he deserves from Richt and the university. He then begged the cops to let him go and said he is a QB at UGA and said he has a lot to lose. After he got bailed out he came back to Athens and lied to Richt and Bobo and told them he was drunk, but only grabbed one girls hips to move her out of the way so he could go the the restroom. Our staff heard from multiple people there was alot more to it than what Mett said and found out about it, but couldnt actually do anything until either Mett confessed to it or the police department told them. I dont know how they found out for sure but they did and thats why the punishment is so harsh. I hope he gets another chance somewhere, but he deserves this and yes I know the girl that it happened to so all these posts about Richt overreacting and being to harsh, I take personally”

Mave2124

April 20th, 2010
4:52 pm

Matt Ryan and the O has to have an answer for Taz at Safety. I think they do and win 20-17…Yes. Thanks big Ben for hanging out in GA college bars!

Paulitik

April 20th, 2010
4:53 pm

I was hoping we’d get to play Ben. Didn’t we knock him out last time we played him? I’d like to see a little vengeance for that D-bag coming to our state and assaulting women.

NCFalconFan

April 20th, 2010
4:55 pm

This is why “Schedule Release” is fun and exciting. I orginally put this game as a L for us, but not anymore. No snow, cold weather or BIG BEN.

"Chef" Tim Dix

April 20th, 2010
4:55 pm

Falcons get first win on the road against the Steelers.

Reid Adair

April 20th, 2010
4:59 pm

This is about as good as you can get for a game at Pittsburgh. The fact that they likely won’t have the services of Ben Roethlisberger is a bonus.

Pi$$onaDAWG

April 20th, 2010
5:00 pm

Well, No snow and we should be healthy and I think that will give the Falcons a win.

Bryan G.

April 20th, 2010
5:16 pm

Jeff, you opined earlier that Ben should get a 6 game suspension. Isn’t that a bit freaking harsh? I recall another QB who had gone to prison getting only a 3 game suspension last year. What am I missing?

LJ

April 20th, 2010
5:29 pm

@Bryan G,

MV7 was suspended the moment he was indicted back in 2007. The 3 games in 2009 reflected a delayed re-instatement.

1990_Champs_GT

April 20th, 2010
5:31 pm

That game will be a lot easier without Mr. Touchy-Feely. I just hope that Troy Polamalu doesn’t feast on us in his grand return.

Falcon Devil

April 20th, 2010
5:32 pm

Thanks Big Ben!

Ted Striker

April 20th, 2010
6:05 pm

@ Bryan G — Where are you getting that Vick received “a 3 game suspension”? Vick was suspended in August, 2007 and was ineligible to play for 2 full seasons plus the first 2 games of 2009. He was eligible to play in week 3.

we beat them last time with Big Ben

April 20th, 2010
6:11 pm

We beat them last time with Big Ben, and we sent his azz out on a stretcher. How people forget and Vick. Charlie Batch is no slouch, but it will be a fun game it always is. I love it when we play Pittsburgh.

WreckinBall

April 20th, 2010
6:13 pm

It’s nice when your opponent has every disadvantage possible, but I believe the Falcons can beat the Steelers with or without Big Ben Rothenswhatever, as long as the Refs call a fair game.

Marva

April 20th, 2010
6:19 pm

What if Pittsburgh signs Zack Mettenberger at QB, and he starts.

:-)

WreckinBall

April 20th, 2010
6:19 pm

Bryan G @ 5:16pm — NO MEANS NO!! Would you think 6 games was a bit harsh if that girl had been someone close to you. The SOB is lucky that he wasn’t charged with rape and assualt.

Delbert D.

April 20th, 2010
6:29 pm

The Steelers would be less Roethlisberger, then. I don’t think he has met Mettenberger.

[...] ♦ With no Roethlisberger, Falcons catch break at Pittsburgh [...]

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

April 20th, 2010
6:45 pm

good call JS- provided we have a healthy roster come game 1, this should be a W for the birds

BLITZBURGH79

April 20th, 2010
7:05 pm

Oops!!
Looks like they’ll face a veteran QB in Byron Leftwich.
Who’s laughing now, haha!

Matt "Choke" Ryan

April 20th, 2010
7:15 pm

Well it’s year 3 and I don’t want to hear anymore excuses for the “CHOKE” – the sophomore season is over.

The Falcons haven’t won a division title or playoff game since 2004.

It’s time to earn that 72-million dollars, but I stand by my original prediction in the 2008 draft – he is a weak armed bust.

Kolb should be benched by week three, because he is another version of the “CHOKE” so this season when the Falcons play Philly, Vick should be the starter, so that will mean about 4 touchdowns and since it’s being played in Philly, it will be an even bigger “BLOWOUT”

Can it get any worse that 34-7? :)

Matt "Choke" Ryan

April 20th, 2010
7:19 pm

You fools must be on drugs!

It doesn’t matter if a high school qb was playing for the Steelers – the Falcons still will get blown out :)

The Steelers still have that top 3 defense and as long as Noodle arm is at quarterback, that’s about 3 picks the Steelers can count on :)

waynester

April 20th, 2010
9:15 pm

I say it’s THEM catching a break as I was looking forward to big Jerry teachin’ him some manners. I’m totally with Paulitik on this one…..

Ace

April 20th, 2010
9:40 pm

If Polemalu is still out then the Falcons would really catch a break…

[...] ♦ With no Roethlisberger, Falcons catch break at Pittsburgh [...]

dan

April 20th, 2010
10:21 pm

Falcons will go 11-5 or 12-4 this year. Mark it down. I think Dimitroff will go for depth in the draft, and the Birds can make a run at this thing. The NFC South is very winnable.The Saints will go down after losing some of those free agents on defense, Tampa Bay and Carolina will be 6-10 or 7-9 at best. And the non-division games are also winnable.The Birds could very well start the season 3-1 or 4-0.

drmondo

April 20th, 2010
10:45 pm

First off, thank you “Choke” for dropping the “ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME” typing. I actually found myself reading one of your posts before I saw who wrote it…
Vick’s punishment from the league didn’t start until after his prison term according to the commish, so he served a 3 game suspension, not 2 years. Do I think Rothlisberger got a raw deal? Hell no!! If he was working in an office, there’s a good chance he’d be fired and facing lawsuits. An even better chance he’d be fired if he was a blue collar worker like most of us. I just don’t want to see this turn into “Vick was done wrong” blog.

waw

April 20th, 2010
10:56 pm

No breaks. Beat a full-knucklehead Steeler team.

Steeleri64

April 21st, 2010
12:25 am

Falcons win in Pittsburgh because the starting QB is suspended? Do you honestly think the defense is going to allow that? Cut and paste it……..Falcons open the season 0-1!

drmondo

April 21st, 2010
2:21 am

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Pittsburgh Steelers have just traded a seventh-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for QB Byron Leftwich.

drmondo

April 21st, 2010
2:23 am

If Leftwich plays, all we need is a hint of a pass rush and Lefty will go down with an injury…

[...] because weather, injuries and impending suspensions for knucklehead quarterbacks are significant.Read More… [...]

Eric

April 21st, 2010
6:52 am

LOL..
Ben, no Ben, Steelers whip the birds like a red headed step-child
38-03.

With Ben.. you don’t even get the 3

Prof

April 21st, 2010
7:15 am

drmondo – a little late there son. Leftwich was mentioned in a post at 7:05pm – 7 hours EARLIER

florida falcon

April 21st, 2010
8:10 am

C’mon people, the birds are still playing the Steelers! I wish I shared everyone’s enthusiasm but it’s Pittburgh, and they don’t lay down for anyone! It IS a winnable game, but it won’t be a walk in the park. I remember a very “winnable game” a few years back, we went to Tennessee on what should have been a cakewalk, we got our azzez handed to us by a QB named Billy Volek! I’m pretty sure we have a rocket armed, running QB named Vick at the time, Talk about a “Choke”! (look it up)

florida falcon

April 21st, 2010
8:12 am

My bad, i meant to say:
“I’m pretty sure we HAD a rocket armed, running QB named Vick at the time.”

dan

April 21st, 2010
8:33 am

I think the Falcons could have beaten Pittsburgh even if Roethlisberger played. Need I remind all you Steelers fans that the Falcons won the last meeting in Atlanta in 2006, and that was when ya’ll were coming off a Super Bowl season. The Steelers are a good team but not a dominant on. Shoot they lost to the FREAKIN BROWNS last year for Christ sakes! I’ll give the Steelers enough respect and say it will be competitive, but I like the Birds in this one. You old school Falcons fans need to have more faith in this team! They will easily be the best football team in Georgia this upcoming season if they stay healthy. And this isn’t some delusional fan talking here. Few fans were more critical of the Falcons from 2005-2007 than yours truly.

joshua

April 21st, 2010
8:46 am

Is it just me, or is it amazing that Byron Leftwich is still in the league??? I just can’t believe that he is still in the league and playing… Anyway, Falcons will beat the Steelers and that is that. Count that one as a “W”…

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

April 21st, 2010
8:52 am

I would rather hamburger be allowed to play so we ca get a true feeling of the Birds D, but either way it will not be easy in Pitt. byron can have a game every now and then.

SirReal

April 21st, 2010
9:25 am

Dont take the Steelers lightly….if we do, we’re done before we start. Ok no Roethlis-booger but they still have Polamalu and a stout D. If Ryan goes up there looking like a baby giraffe caught in the headlights, we’re done. This year all depends on healthy players and Matt Ryan’s ability to stop making stupid decisions in the pocket. (hopefully he has enough fortitude to stay in the pocket and take a hit for a change…the guy’s mentally fragile.)

Strokers all day

April 21st, 2010
9:36 am

joshua

April 21st, 2010
8:46 am
Is it just me, or is it amazing that Byron Leftwich is still in the league??? I just can’t believe that he is still in the league and playing… Anyway, Falcons will beat the Steelers and that is that. Count that one as a “W”…

—–
Why is it amazing that he is still in the league? the dude was a first round draft pick who actually won several football games in the NFL.

What is amazing is seattle giving a boatload of money to a bum like charlie whitehurst, now that is truly amazing.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

April 21st, 2010
10:33 am

(Shudder) All that optimism has to now fade … the Steelers traded for Byron Leftwich. Woe is us.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

April 21st, 2010
10:34 am

And, most amazing of all …. Two-interceptions-a-game Jake Delhomme will make about $20 million next season.

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

April 21st, 2010
10:56 am

It must be a disgusting feeling when you have all that money, yet you are so unattractive and repulsive to so many women that you still can’t easily score off the field without help.

Hasn’t Hines Ward retired yet? Although it will be a tough game in Pittsburgh even without Big Ben, the Falcons will win.

osama

April 21st, 2010
11:03 am

The Falcons should go 16-0 against this schedule. As a fan, I concede no home games & I am hard pressed to find a road game where we don’t have at least a small advantage. We don’t always match up well with Cleveland & Philly’s D is still strong but that’s about it.

ATL Observer

April 21st, 2010
11:42 am

Pittsburgh didn’t have Polumalu for most of last year. When you add Polumalu to the equation, they become a VASTLY different (and better) team. Not that missing out on Ben doesn’t benefit the birds, but they won’t be a cakewalk. And Leftwich may not be Ben, but he’s a more-than-serviceable QB that can definitely deliver if protected well enough.

I like how the Falcons look so far but there’s plenty of offseason to go!

(Sidenote: Ben got off lightly, but not from the NFL, rather from the Milledgeville D.A. Seeing the details of the report, I can’t fathom how it didn’t make trial)

ugaalum2004

April 21st, 2010
11:44 am

SirReal,

I disagree with your assessment about Ryan being fragile in the pocket. Yes he has his bad games, and yes his footwork could improve. But I think Ryan is tough. He took a pounding vs. the Jets last year, but found a way to win in the final minute in cold weather against a VERY good defense. He also displayed fortitude in tying up the game with the Giants, even though that eventually led to a loss. To me this Falcons team is different. They will fight teams to the very end, even with their backups in the game. They could have easily mailed it in last season, but they didn’t. Playing to win when a win means nothing means something! And if opposing teams are underestimating the character and fight of this Falcons team, they could in for a long game!