Candlestick Park Blackout: Steelers vs. 49ers Outage Signals Doom for Big Ben

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 20, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers fumbles the ball after being sacked by Aldon Smith #99 and Justin Smith #94 of the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Smith recovered the fumble for the 49ers.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Following a power outage, there was plenty of darkness at Candlestick Park before the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.

Little did Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger know that darkness would follow him into the game...and I'm not talking about the second power outage in the second quarter.

In a bizarre Monday Night Football affair that saw two power outages, Roethlisberger and the Steelers were stunned by the 49ers, 20-3.

Roethlisberger, who was playing on a high ankle sprain, had a nightmare of a game, sustaining three sacks and multiple big hits. He also threw three interceptions, his injury noticeably bothering him throughout the game.

Although the 49ers had the same record as the Steelers coming into the showdown, the general consensus was that the Steelers would win this game, even on the 49ers' home turf.

But it was not to be, as the 49ers looked like the better team.

First off, rookie linebacker Aldon Smith is simply a beast. Selected No. 7 overall in the draft, he has been a force all season long, and after recording 2.5 of the 49ers' three sacks on Monday, he broke the franchise rookie record.

Charles Haley set the record back in 1986 with 12 sacks and Smith now has 13 sacks on the season.

Secondly, the 49ers defense as a whole may be the best defense in the league, and that includes the Baltimore Ravens. Beyond Smith, they have two-time Pro Bowler Justin Smith at defensive tackle, emerging second-year linebacker Navorro Bowman, free safety Dashon Goldson and two nice offseason pickups in strong safety Donte Whitner and cornerback Carlos Rogers.

And, of course, they have the best middle linebacker in the league in Patrick Willis, who actually missed Monday's game due to a hamstring injury.

There may still be some concerns about the 49ers offense, but the fact of the matter is, they have a chance to make it far in the playoffs on their defense alone.

As for Roethlisberger, I'll be surprised if he can even walk after this game.

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