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Lebsteel
12-24-2009, 12:17 AM
OWINGS MILLS. Md. – The enduring images of Pittsburgh Steelers rugged quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are almost always defined by his escape artistry.

Ben RoethlisbergerAPBen Roethlisberger is more elusive and difficult to tackle than most NFL quarterbacks.

Either Roethlisberger completes a pass by shrugging defenders draped all over his back, arms and legs, or he displays unique elusiveness for his size to break out of the pocket to uncork a long spiral on the run.

For the Baltimore Ravens, his presence in Sunday’s AFC North showdown looms large.

Beating the Steelers one week after Roethlisberger engineered a dramatic 37-36 win over the Green Bay Packers with a franchise-record 503 passing yards along with three touchdown passes will entail more than containing him.

The Ravens need to bring the 6-foot-5, 241-pounder down to the ground as often as possible.

“Obviously his size, a big, strong, athletic guy," said Baltimore outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, who has recorded six sacks this season. "So, you grab onto him and it’s not like grabbing onto Brooks Bollinger or somebody else. Ben’s a big dude. I think the other thing is, he understands his mobility.

“When he sees a free runner, he’s going to stand there and let you run full speed. He knows that all he’s got to do is twist or take one or two steps – especially on that field where you can’t redirect. I think it’s not only his size and his athletic ability, but it’s also that he’s a smart guy."

Because the Steelers’ offensive line has demonstrated some suspect pass blocking this season and Roethlisberger hangs in the pocket until the last possible second, he has been sacked 43 times this season.

That’s the second-most of any NFL quarterback.

Stemming directly from Roethlisberger’s ability to improvise are plays such as his game-winning 19-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace as time expired against the Packers.

It’s not only about his ability. It comes back to his determination.

“Definitely, Ben always got it in his mind that he’s always going to have to break a tackle to make a play, as you saw last week, and he’s capable of doing it,” Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “He’s probably the only quarterback capable of doing that. Fundamental tackling will be key this week in practice.”

Against Green Bay, Roethlisberger joined Hall of Fame quarterbacks Y.A. Tittle and Warren Moon as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for at least 500 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.

He broke the Steelers’ single-season record for completions with 302, surpassing Tommy Maddox’s mark.

And Roethlisberger did it in his usual dramatic fashion with his late-game heroics.

“You know, that’s his game,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in a conference call with Baltimore reporters. “Some people run from big moments, some people crave them. He’s one of those kind of guys that craves them, and I’d imagine he’s done it at every level he’s participated in going back to little league.”

Roethlisberger is far from a sculpted athlete who lives in the weight room.

However, his athleticism is deceptive.

And his mobility, endurance and size are huge factors in any football game.

“It’s a combination of his size, strength, athleticism, balance, the fact that he’s so accurate on the run, so accurate when defenders are draped on him,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s probably the best playmaker out of the pocket as a thrower in the league. They’ve built the offense around that.”

Asked if his ability to pull out a win was akin to a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat, Roethlisberger laughed and replied: “As long as the rabbit’s alive, that’s what matters.”

Although the defending Super Bowl champions are 7-7 overall, Roethlisberger has enjoyed a prolific season.

He has completed 67.7 percent of his throws for 3,849 yards, 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for a 100.6 passer rating.

The win over the Packers was particularly satisfying with the Steelers’ season on the line.

“Coach has said, ‘I can tell when you have a hot hand,’ and I had that feeling,” Roethlisberger said. “The offense was doing well. We were moving the ball and scoring and doing good things.”

Roethlisberger’s sterling numbers don’t include participation in the Ravens’ 20-17 overtime win over the Steelers on Nov. 29 when he was sidelined with a concussion and Baltimore eked out a win over Dennis Dixon.

The Ravens’ defensive game plan will have one top priority, harassing Roethlisberger and preventing him from exploiting their secondary the way he exposed the Packers.

That will mean keeping him bottled up, collapsing the pocket and tackling him with fundamental technique.

"With most guys, we always say, ‘Move them off their spot. Get them out into space,’” Johnson said. “When he’s running around and making stuff happen is when he’s at his most dangerous. But that’s also a bad thing because he can also stand in the pocket and carve you up.

“So, it’s dangerous. You want to get after him and you want to move him, but you also always want to have someone in his face because when he gets out there in space and is running around, it seems like that’s when he’s at his most accurate."

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Wilson-Ravens-looking-to-corral-Roethlisberger.html

stlrz d
12-24-2009, 12:23 AM
The Ravens have a terrible secondary and just lost Webb for the season, making them worse. Chris Carr will be starting at corner for them. We need to take advantage of that, but I'd love to see the Steelers throw a curveball at the Ravens, who are going to be focusing on Ben, and come out running first...just to see how the Ravens respond.

If we can get a run game going then the Ravens have to pick their poison. :)

Iron Shiek
12-24-2009, 12:39 AM
Good point on the run game. But if Ward don't play, we are definitely short handed in my mind. He's the heart of that offense. I saw that Wallace didn't participate or was limited in practice, but I'm sure that isn't that big of an issue. Holmes could get some extra attention. I feel like a big focus of our offense could be Heaaaaaaath in this game. Or if we somehow find a diamond in a 3rd Wr rolled out there...that'd be nice.

papillon
12-24-2009, 01:01 AM
Ben and Arians have to be willing to run the ball for the Steelers to have a running game. Nineteen rushes and 46 pass attempts won't get it done, IMO.

Ben and Arians need to realize they have a guy in Mendenhall that willprobably rush for between 1300 and 1600 yards per year starting next year and barring injury. And, right now, Parker is healthy and hitting holes with authority and speed, he hasn't looked this good in over a year. The tools are there, the carpenter needs to get them out and use them.

Pappy

feltdizz
12-24-2009, 01:42 AM
I'll give Arians one credit... In the last 4 games against the Ravens he has run the ball... Not much success but he has done it.. Then we usually go over the top or play action pass. I don't think we have the protection to sling it 45 times...

I have a feeling Arians is going out swinging and by that I mean nothing to lose... Ben all day long. We almost won with Dixon so I think we handle the ravens this time around

Flasteel
12-24-2009, 02:11 AM
I'll give Arians one credit... In the last 4 games against the Ravens he has run the ball... Not much success but he has done it.. Then we usually go over the top or play action pass. I don't think we have the protection to sling it 45 times...

I have a feeling Arians is going out swinging and by that I mean nothing to lose... Ben all day long. We almost won with Dixon so I think we handle the ravens this time around

Nearly all of Dixon's success came off of play-action in that game. Ben's numbers off of play-action are also incredible this year, so it stands to reason that we get Mendenhall in gear and play rope-a-dope.

stlrz d
12-24-2009, 09:43 AM
Keep in mind the Ravens don't have much of a pass rush either.

Of course against us they typically have a little better rush because our QB loves to taunt them by holding that ball! :D

http://www.thepostgame.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/ben-vs-ravens.jpg

feltdizz
12-24-2009, 09:52 AM
We made the browns D look like the 85 bears. This is not the week for the empty set on 3rd and inches.

NorthCoast
12-24-2009, 10:30 AM
We made the browns D look like the 85 bears. This is not the week for the empty set on 3rd and inches.

If the Ravens were smart, they will copy the Browns defensive game plan. Send the house on almost every play and hope they get to Ben before he finds the open guy. Holmes will be doubled on most plays. Hines is a gimp so even their worst CB should be able to cover him. It will come down to Heath and Wallace to make plays. But I agree, get Mendenhall involved early.
Ravens might not even care that much about this game because they know we need a semi-miracle to get in anyway.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
12-24-2009, 10:49 AM
If the Ravens were smart, they will copy the Browns defensive game plan. Send the house on almost every play and hope they get to Ben before he finds the open guy. Holmes will be doubled on most plays. Hines is a gimp so even their worst CB should be able to cover him. It will come down to Heath and Wallace to make plays. But I agree, get Mendenhall involved early.
Ravens might not even care that much about this game because they know we need a semi-miracle to get in anyway.




I think they will get up for this game just because of how we humiliated them last year.

Anyone know - how important is this game to the Ravens to get in? Do they need to win out also?

Lebsteel
12-24-2009, 12:35 PM
If the Ravens were smart, they will copy the Browns defensive game plan. Send the house on almost every play and hope they get to Ben before he finds the open guy. Holmes will be doubled on most plays. Hines is a gimp so even their worst CB should be able to cover him. It will come down to Heath and Wallace to make plays. But I agree, get Mendenhall involved early.
Ravens might not even care that much about this game because they know we need a semi-miracle to get in anyway.




I think they will get up for this game just because of how we humiliated them last year.

Anyone know - how important is this game to the Ravens to get in? Do they need to win out also?

No, the Rats do not need to win out, necessarily. However, there are a few scenarios like the Jags and Jets winning out and the Rats losing a game, where the Rats would be out. So, if they want to control their own destiny, yes, they need to win out.