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OPPONENT BREAKDOWN: This has been an atypical season for Big Ben and Steelers
Mike O’Hara – DetroitLions.com
Big Ben doesn’t pay much attention to the clock ticking on how much time he has left before the pocket collapses under the rush of opposing defensive linemen. He has even less concern about what he flatly calls an “erroneous” report that time is running out on his days in Pittsburgh.
Ben Roethlisberger has been a big target for pass rushers for most of his 10 seasons as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback. He takes hits to let his receivers get open to make big plays.
It is a tradeoff that has worked to the Steelers’ advantage most of Roethlisberger’s career. The Steelers won Super Bowls XL (at Ford Field in Detroit) and XLIII, and they lost to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
Detroit Lions CB Rashean Mathis modest about past success against Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
Justin Rogers – mlive.com
It’s an understatement to say Detroit Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis has had Ben Roethlisberger’s number.
In four meetings, Mathis has picked off the Steelers quarterback five times, including twice in a 2008 playoff win. The veteran corner has returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns, including one in the postseason victory.
Steelers sweat out ‘Mr. Johnson … one of the freaks of the league’
Dave Birkett – Detroit Free Press
Calvin Johnson has played against the Pittsburgh Steelers one time in 6½ NFL seasons, and he caught one pass for 2 yards in that game, a Lions loss.
But the Steelers showed Johnson no shortage of respect in conference calls with Detroit reporters Wednesday. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger called Johnson “truly one of the freaks of the league,” and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin referred to him as “Mr. Johnson” while fretting about how to stop the game’s best receiver when the Lions visit Heinz Field on Sunday.
Inside the world of Megatron: Calvin Johnson is as unassuming as he is unstoppable
Josh Katzenstein – The Detroit News
Calvin Johnson no longer wants to be a dentist.
That was the plan when he was growing up in suburban Atlanta, but then he grew to 6-foot-5 and developed a knack for dropping jaws.
“I can’t do all the school for that,” Johnson said of his original career path. “I’m good on that. My sister, my brother, they’re doctors. They can have all the extra four or five years of school.”