Ben Roethlisberger 'still very sore'

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger is still feeling the effects of what he called the second-hardest hit he has absorbed in his NFL career.

The Steelers quarterback said Tuesday on his weekly radio show that he is "still very sore" after getting drilled in the chest by Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw early in the Steelers' 26-6 loss to Baltimore on Thursday night.

"I'm hurting today as much as I was at any point I can think of in the last year," Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.

Upshaw got a clean run at Roethlisberger on the third play of the game after he faked dropping into coverage. The hit Upshaw delivered was so hard that it knocked the wind out of Roethlisberger and drew a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer.

The play was reminiscent of one that happened in 2006 in Baltimore, where former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott slammed into Roethlisberger on a blitz.

Roethlisberger has said that is the hardest he ever has been hit.

"This is easily right there with a close second," said Roethlisberger, who struggled with his accuracy after Upshaw's hit and completed 22 of 37 passes for 217 yards and an interception in the Steelers' first loss of the season. "I lost my breath instantly and remember hitting the ground thinking, 'Boy, that hurt a lot.' I kind of pride myself on not taking those big hits, but I sure as heck didn't see it coming."

Roethlisberger also didn't see the Steelers managing just three field goals in their past six quarters. But he said the early slump by the offense can be fixed as the Steelers prepare for a Sunday night road game against the 2-0 Panthers.

"It's nothing to be scared about," the 11th-year veteran said of the offense's struggles dating to the second half of the Steelers' 30-27 Week 1 win over the Browns. "It's just a little thing here, a little thing there.

"We're going to get some people involved that haven't been on the field -- the Will Johnsons, the Matt Spaeths -- guys we feel are too good of players not to have on the field. We'll change the tempo a little more, we'll do a little bit more no-huddle."

The penalty on Upshaw, meanwhile, had Ravens coach John Harbaugh scratching his head. Harbaugh said he spoke with NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino about it.

"The way the rules are written is one thing; what's possible to accomplish is another thing," Harbaugh said Monday. "There's no way to coach Courtney out of that. He's coming full speed, he's getting down into the strike zone, and he's keeping his eyes up. He can't lift his head any higher than that.

"He also can't get his head off to the side because Ben's moving, and also the fact that if he gets his head off to the side, he has a real good chance of missing the tackle or hurting himself by dropping his head. We're never going to put our player in position to coach him to drop his head."

Information from ESPN.com Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley is included in this report.