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Roethlisberger latest to elude Bucs' grasp

Last week, Big Ben got clocked.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked nine times by the Ravens in a 27-0 loss.

But Sunday against the Bucs, Roethlisberger constantly scrambled away from pressure and bought time for his receivers, who kept breaking their routes and making big plays in the Steelers' 20-3 win over Tampa Bay.

Roethlisberger was 12-of-25 passing for 198 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

His touchdown pass to Heath Miller in the third quarter came as he scrambled left and allowed his tight end to break off his post route, beating cornerback Ronde Barber to the end zone.

With the Bucs managing just one sack, the game was another example of the lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks that has hurt them this season. Entering Sunday's game, they had just 14 as a team -as many as Simeon Rice had by himself last season.

"Oh, man. It's frustrating," Barber said. "We were playing a lot of man (coverage) today to stop the run. Willie Parker we thought was a hell of a running back, and he is. We stacked the line to stop the run and had to play a lot of man-to-man, but we missed a couple sacks. Ben is somewhat mobile and he worked around and made some plays in the passing game.

"The play to (receiver Nate) Washington was the same thing," a second-quarter play on a drive capped by a field goal. "He came from the other side of the field and turned that thing up and caught a (36)-yard pass. So yeah, it's a little frustrating."

At 6 feet 5, 240 pounds, Roethlisberger is not known for his scrambling ability. But he is strong enough to throw the ball downfield on the run.

"They didn't bring as many crazy blitzes as Baltimore did, and I have to give my line a lot of credit," Roethlisberger said. "They stepped up big. I think they were really hurt by the way things went last week, and I think they took it upon themselves to not let that happen to their quarterback again.

"Being able to get outside is a big facet of what we do, and I like getting out there and making some more things happen."

The Bucs defense did a nice job on Parker, holding him to 61 yards on 22 carries, a 2.8-yard average. But the lack of pressure from their front four has forced defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to dial up more blitzes, leaving his cornerbacks in man coverage.

"You expect everything to be right there in your hands when you get a chance (to sack) him and he slipped away and made a play," cornerback Juran Bolden said. "It's a credit to the defensive line. They were up there putting heat on him. When you're in man-to-man coverage and running from one side of the field to the next, you just cover as long as you can hoping your (defensive) line gets there or your linebackers, whatever the situation is.

"Hey, the (Steelers) made plays and unfortunately, we weren't able to stop them."

Injuries have contributed to the Bucs' lack of pressure. Rice had two sacks before going on injured reserve to have shoulder surgery. Anthony McFarland was traded to the Colts. His replacement, defensive tackle Ellis Wyms, missed several games with an ankle sprain.

"The numbers speak to that," Barber said. "So we've had to call some blitzes. ... We just didn't get the guy on the ground and it made for a frustrating day for us in the secondary."

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