Big Ben’s left knee is doing fine. So are the winning streaks tied to him and the Pittsburgh Steelers heading into their AFC championship game rematch with New England.
Shaking off a bruise that left him listed as questionable to play, Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to two touchdowns and two field goals on their first four drives en route to a 27-7 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Pittsburgh (2-0) won its 16th straight regular-season game. The Patriots’ regular-season record of 18 was ended by the Steelers when they met last October in Pittsburgh.
New England got revenge by winning at Heinz Field in January to get to the Super Bowl. Now the Steelers are the ones talking about payback with the Super Bowl champions returning to Pittsburgh on Sunday.
“I think that will be on a lot of people’s minds this week,” said running back Willie Parker, who cemented his hold on the starting job with 111 yards and a touchdown in 25 carries.
“We try to take it one game at a time, but the New England game is not really the same,” added safety Troy Polamalu, who had three of Pittsburgh’s eight sacks.
Although the Patriots took some of the luster off the rematch by losing at Carolina, the Steelers kept up their end. Roethlisberger improved to 15-0 as a starter and Pittsburgh won an eighth straight road game, one shy of the team record set in 1974-75.
“We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing: not turning the ball over, not getting penalties and playing smart,” Coach Bill Cowher said.
Houston (0-2) struggled so much on offense that fans were booing before quarterback David Carr lost a fumble -- on his third snap.
He was 16 for 26 for 167 yards and a touchdown, but gave back 59 yards on sacks.
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Pittsburgh won its 16th consecutive game in the regular season, matching the third-longest streak in the NFL:
*--* No. Team Seasons 18 New England 2003-04 17 Chicago 1933-34 16 Pittsburgh 2004-05 16 Miami 1983-84 16 Miami 1971-73 16 Chicago 1941-42