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Roethlisberger hopes to end losing streak

Oct 11, 2006 - 1:28 AM Kansas City (2-2) at Pittsburgh (1-3) Sunday 4:15 pm EDT

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) - Ben Roethlisberger has nearly as many losses this season than in his first two years in the NFL.

Roethlisberger will try to snap a three-game losing streak Sunday when the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers host the Kansas City Chiefs, looking to snap an uncharacteristic three-game slide.

The youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl at 23, Roethlisberger entered the 2005 campaign with a 27-4 record, including playoffs.

But after missing the season opener due to an emergency appendectomy, Roethlisberger was shut out in a loss at Jacksonville and also struggled in losses to Cincinnati and San Diego.

"I can't tell you the last time I lost three games in a row," said Roethlisberger, who has zero touchdown passes and seven interceptions. "I feel like I have let my teammates down and let the fans down. I know I can play better and I know I will."

Roethlisberger continues to insist that he is not affected by his motorcycle accident in June or his appendectomy, but his quarterback rating of 41.7 indicates otherwise.

He appears to be lacking some of the mobility he displayed in his first two years in the league. In last week's 23-13 loss to San Diego, Roethlisberger was sacked five times.

Now Roethlisberger faces a defense that has yielded just 52 points in four games and features Ty Law and Patrick Surtain at cornerback. After tying for the league lead with 10 interceptions last season, Law has two this year.

The Chiefs have to be delighted with the play of Damon Huard, a career backup who has stepped in for injured starter Trent Green and posted back-to-back wins after a loss at Denver on September 17.

Huard has completed 73-of-104 passes for 769 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. In his first nine seasons, Huard started just six games - all with Miami in 1999 and 2000.

Green suffered a concussion in the season-opening loss to Cincinnati and may return October 22 against San Diego. New Chiefs coach Herman Edwards has managed to offset the loss of Green, but replacing Larry Johnson is another story.

That appeared to be Edwards' dilemma when Johnson suffered a neck strain after Arizona cornerback Antrel Rolle twisted his head by the facemask in the fourth quarter of last week's game. Johnson was down for several minutes before wobbling to the sideline.

However, the defending AFC rushing champion returned to practice this week and expects to play against the Steelers.

Huard passed for 288 yards and two touchdowns and Johnson caught six passes for 106 yards and a score in last week's 23-20 win at Arizona. However, Johnson was held to 36 yards on 16 carries and also may find rough going against Pittsburgh, which held San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson to just 36 yards on 13 carries.

After matching up against Antonio Gates last week, Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu will face Tony Gonzalez on Sunday. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Gonzalez has 666 career receptions for 7,982 yards with Kansas City.

The Steelers are 1-3 for just the third time in Bill Cowher's 15 seasons as coach. They trail Baltimore (4-1) and Cincinnati (3-1) in the AFC North.

The teams last met in 2003 before Roethlisberger arrived in Pittsburgh, and Kansas City rolled to a 41-20 victory. The Chiefs have not visited here since 1989.

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