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Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger conference call with the New England media

Q: Tom Brady is having his press conference about 20 yards away, are there any questions you want us to ask him?

BR: I'm surprised that anybody wanted to talk to me.

Q: You're a team that's used to having success. How frustrating has this season been for you guys?

BR: Yeah, it's been tough. The bar, the standard has been set high here and the start of this season has not been something that we're used to, so it's been frustrating and difficult.

Q: One of the hallmarks of a Steelers team is running the ball, and the Patriots have been vulnerable in the run game over the past few weeks. Are you guys capable of running the ball against this defense?

BR: Well, we always want to run the ball well, regardless of who we're playing and whether they're good against the run or not good against the run. That has to be our mindset and our mentality coming in: to be balanced, because that's when we're at our best.

Q: What's the biggest difference in the Patriots defense when they have Aqib Talib and when they don't have him?

BR: You look at – we've been watching a lot of film, and even things without Vince [Wilfork], without [Jerod] Mayo, they're missing a lot of their main guys over there, but they find ways to get it done, and that's what's key. You find ways to win football games even when you're missing some of your best players.

Q: With Talib specifically, how good has he been this season?

BR: Very good. He's a very good player, very ball-aware and someone that when you're playing against him you have to know where he's at and what he's doing.

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Q:** Bill Belichick mentioned that both the Patriots and Steelers have been in a lot of close games this year. Do you feel close? Do you feel like this is a team that if you play well you're going to be able to get it done, regardless of who you're playing?

BR: That's exactly right. That's the example that I've used too, is that we've been close and we haven't won and the Patriots have been close and they have won. That's – sometimes it's the bounce of a ball, sometimes it's a play made here or not made there. We feel like we've gotten better every week, we just haven't been able to put it all together.

Q: Are there factors or similarities that have gone into your close losses?

BR: I think it's just – we've kind of dug ourselves a hole early in games just like we have this season. We get behind and we're playing catch-up all game, and in this league it's hard to catch up late in games.

Q: Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo are both out for the season and Aqib Talib may or may not play. Is there anything you see on defense with those players out that has you licking your chops?

BR: No, I mean it's still a good defense, they still make plays. Those guys are obviously – you get Vince in the run game and Jerod in both – he had been playing lights-out football. Those are marquee guys for them, but in typical New England fashion they fit guys in and find ways to get it done.

Q: If you have success against the Patriots on offense, what does that mean you're doing well?

BR: I think not turning the ball over, converting third-downs so that turns into possessing the ball, and hopefully we score some points.

Q: The Patriots have had problems converting third downs. As a quarterback, what are some of the biggest factors that go into extending drives and doing well in that area?

BR: Extending drives comes from converting third downs, and the key to third downs is to try to get in third-and-manageable. That's six [yards] and shorter, which means you're doing your job on first and second down. Usually you get into longer down and distance on third down, defenses start throwing crazy blitzes and it's harder for guys to pick up all the different looks and blitzes, especially if they're bringing more than you can block, so I think getting in manageable third downs is key.

Q: When a guy like Vince Wilfork is out, as good as he is and as much as everybody praises him, doesn't that allow you guys to take advantage of him not being there?

BR: He's a great player. Not just stopping the run, but creating mismatches up front in the pass game too. We're going to come at them with our game plan that we put together, and it probably – we'll just have to see how the game unfolds.

Q: Does the fact that you've had success over the years make it any easier or more difficult to go through what you've gone through thus far this season?

BR: Well, like I said before it's very frustrating and difficult, but a lot of guys have experience with this team, and we just keep pushing forward. That's the key to trying to just put it behind you and move on and look forward to this week.

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