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Griffen Notches 50th Career Sack in Loss to Pittsburgh

Everson Griffen reached a personal milestone during Minnesota's 26-9 loss to the Steelers on Sunday.

The Vikings defensive end notched 2.0 sacks against Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, bringing his career total to 51 takedowns.

"Hard work, dedication and paying close attention to your craft and trying to get your job done," said Griffen, who passed the 50-sack mark in his 50th career start.

The former fourth-round pick brought down Roethlisberger on the final play of the first quarter for a 7-yard loss, and also got to him in the third quarter for a loss of 3 yards. 

"I got my time to rush and got him down twice, but it's a group effort," Griffen said. "Without the front four, I wouldn't be able to get back there. You can't do it by yourself." 

The Vikings appeared to have Roethlisberger in their grasps for other sacks, but the quarterback known as "Big Ben" was able to slip away or throw the ball away to keep the Vikings defense from having more success.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said earlier in the week that it would take a team effort to bring down Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger completed 23 of 35 passes for 243 yards with a pair of touchdowns and a passer rating of 104.8.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense benefitted from a pair of first-half pass interference calls on the Vikings.

Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes was whistled for a flag that awarded Pittsburgh 22 yards, and while a penalty on cornerback Trae Waynes helped the Steelers move the ball 49 yards.

Rhodes said the Vikings defense expected Roethlisberger to take shots downfield.

"They were just playing ball. They watched film … we're aggressive corners, and we play aggressive D, so it was either they catch the ball or we get penalized," Rhodes said. "That was their game plan, by the looks of it, but at the end of the day, we just need to eliminate those, play ball and get ready for next week." 

Minnesota's defense gave up 335 yards of offense against Pittsburgh. The Vikings will now face a Tampa Bay offense that had 311 yards of offense Sunday against Chicago.

Griffen said there's one thing the Vikings defense will focus on this week as they prepare for the Buccaneers.

"Sense of urgency. We've got to go back to the drawing board," Griffen said. "Like Coach Zimmer said, it's only one game, but you can't let this one game affect the next game and the next after that.

"We've got to bounce back and do our jobs better next week, eliminate the penalties and big plays and have ourselves a better day," Griffen added.

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