In the 49ers Monday Night Football matchup against the Steelers last season, there were two storylines that will be remembered: First, were the lights going out twice at Candlestick Park. Second, was the 49ers dominating defense which held the Steelers offense to only three points, forced two fumbles and three interceptions. The game was not and will not be remembered for 49ers players going after Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Bounty Gate style. Here is a quote from Roethlisberger on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday in response to a question about the most recent time an opponent took shots at him to cause injury:
Um, wow, that’s tough. I don’t really complain about that stuff, either. But I think when we played San Fran, I felt like there were some things going on, some extra …Now, obviously, I did have the ankle [injury] and I was playing, so there was kind of a bull’s-eye on there anyway. But for the most part, guys play tough and you go into a game expecting it. I expect to be tougher than them.
Roethlisberger did not say the 49ers coaching staff instructed players to hurt or target his ankle, but he does think the hurt ankle played a role in what happened after plays were over:
Sometimes you get guys —- things happen under piles and, you know, the little extra twisting of the ankles and poking, things like that. But this whole bounty thing —- I don’t know if I’d sit there and say, ‘Wow, that guy really tried to end my career.’ Honestly, I don’t know.
It should be noted the 49ers had seven penalties in their 20-3 win over the Steelers, none of which were roughing the passer or late hit calls on Roethlisberger. The 49ers defense had eight hits on the Steelers QB including three which were sacks. Also, I don’t recall any jarring hits on Big Ben that would suggest the 49ers were going after him. As far as the stuff happening under the pile after plays were over, that’s part of the game. Roethlisberger could not have said it better, “guys play tough and you go into a game expecting it. I expect to be tougher than them.”