"It's hard to believe."
That was the reaction by former Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson last year in response to Ben Roethlisberger's career record against Cleveland.
The Steelers are 17-1 against the Browns with Roethlisberger under center. Big Ben hasn't lost to Cleveland since 2009, and it took until his sixth season to suffer his first-and-only loss to the Steelers' rival.
In an interview conducted last season, Big Ben admitted that growing up in nearby Finlay, Ohio, along with the fact that the Browns had a chance to draft him back in 2004, has given Roethlisberger added motivation for his games against Cleveland.
"You're going back home to Ohio to play against kind of a hometown team, so it always adds a little extra motivation," Roethlisberger said. "And (Cleveland) had one of the top-10 picks in the NFL draft that year and passed over me, so there’s always a little bit of motivation. It's a rival, it's an AFC North game, and those are always fun games.''
There have been many memorable moments for the Steelers against the Browns during the Roethlisberger era. We had the 41-0 beat-down in Cleveland in 2005, highlighted by James Harrison's body-slam of a Browns fan that stumbled onto the field. Then there was the 31-0 stomping over the Browns in Pittsburgh near the end of the Steelers' most recent Super Bowl winning season in 2008. Who can forget the comeback win in 2007 that saw Pittsburgh overcome a 21-6 deficit to pull out a 31-28 triumph?
Perhaps my favorite Big Ben moment against the Browns took place in 2006. In a competitive contest that saw the Browns ahead late in the game, Roethlisberger put together the kind of drive that has made him a Hall of Fame-caliber player. He willed the Steelers' offense down the field in the closing minutes and sealed another win over Cleveland with a touchdown pass to Willie Parker. That was just another reminder of what the Steelers are fortunate to have and what the Browns and many other teams are lacking.