Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was among the Steelers who didn't look sharp in Pittsburgh's 9-0 loss at Jacksonville on Monday night. However, coach Bill Cowher said his ill quarterback wasn't as sick as reported by ESPN.
Roethlisberger had flu-like symptoms during the game that were unrelated to the appendectomy, but Cowher said reports that his quarterback had a 104-degree fever were erroneous and that, in fact, Roethlisberger's temperature was 100.4.
Roethlisberger completed 17 of 32 passes for 141 yards and threw two interceptions.
The quarterback was making his first appearance of the season after a tumultuous few months. He was in a serious motorcycle accident June 12 and, seemingly fully recovered from the resulting facial surgery, underwent an emergency appendectomy Sept. 3.
"When you go from preseason to regular season, everybody's going through that period of acclimation to the speed of the game," Cowher said. "The speed does go up going into the regular season, but it does for the other team, as well. But when you come into it the second week of the season and [the opponent] already has been through that first week of acclimation, it's tough."
Pittsburgh produced only 152 yards of offense and advanced past midfield only once -- to the Jaguars 46. But the Steelers' 26 yards on the ground was more of a culprit, and Cowher said he never considered inserting backup quarterback Charlie Batch, who played well the previous week in a win over Miami.
Cowher noted that Roethlisberger and top receiver Hines Ward had not even practiced together for more than a month until last week. Ward sat out much of training camp with a hamstring injury.
"There's no substitute for playing time," Cowher said. "And we have [now] gotten Ben that."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.