View Full Version : As Steelers struggle, Ben shines

Hawaii 5-0
09-29-2012, 02:30 AM
As Steelers struggle, Roethlisberger shines

by Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t sandbagging. At least, not intentionally.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback really did have concerns about how long it would take to develop the rapport necessary to execute Todd Haley’s gameplan without drawing the ire of his sometimes combustible new offensive coordinator.

Turns out, it took less than a month.

While the Steelers (1-2) are off to a sluggish start, the arranged marriage between Roethlisberger and Haley is blossoming. The quarterback ranks second in the NFL with a 109.2 rating and is tied for the league lead with eight touchdowns while completing 68 percent of his passes, five points above his career average.

So much for the concerns about whether Roethlisberger and Haley could co-exist. The two certainly look like they’re on the same page through the season’s first three weeks.

Whether he’s running things out of the no-huddle, firing off a quick hitter to one of the deepest receiving corps in the league or using his legs to extend plays long enough to make something happen, Roethlisberger looks like he’s been working with Haley six years, not six months.

“He’s made very good decisions,” Haley said. “When you see us in quick mode, when the ball is coming out on three-step timing, he’s been tremendous.”

Even if Roethlisberger’s been forced to holster a bit of his inner gunslinger. Defenses have challenged him to stay patient, taking away the deep stuff and making Roethlisberger settle for shorter passes instead of allowing him to let it fly.

Rather than trust his arm, Roethlisberger is trusting the system. The results have been spectacular.

“I think he’s playing as good as any quarterback in the league,” wide receiver Mike Wallace said.

One who isn’t afraid to just make things up as he goes. When Oakland went to press coverage on fourth down in the first quarter last Sunday, Roethlisberger used a hand signal held over from Bruce Arians’ tenure as offensive coordinator to communicate with Wallace about a specific route.

Wallace turned the play into a first down, one of two instances Roethlisberger went old school during a 34-31 loss. The quarterback raised some eyebrows after his 384-yard, four-touchdown performance by hinting he ditched Haley’s playbook in the second half.

Turns out, he didn’t, clarifying on Tuesday he talked to Haley afterward about the hand signals, which are now a permanent part of the offense.

“I know there’s some people out there that were saying that I’m resistant to Todd,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s one of those things, we went to Todd and it’s in the playbook now.”

Call it a show of the growing confidence Roethlisberger and Haley have in each other. At times, Roethlisberger has been almost surgical in his approach. Save for a couple of late-game gambles in a season-opening loss to Denver, the quarterback and the coordinator have been in sync.

“He knows when he’s hearing my voice in his headset and giving him a call that I’m putting him in the best position for him to succeed,” Haley said. “I have to trust him that when I make the call, he’s going to make it work. At this point it’s been really good and I expect it to continue.”

Having a seemingly endless number of targets, helps. The only skill position player who hasn’t caught at least one pass this season is rookie tight end David Paulson.

When defenses have put most of their attention on Pro Bowlers Wallace and Antonio Brown, Roethlisberger has no trouble hitting fullback Will Johnson wheeling out of the backfield. The team’s third-longest play from scrimmage so far isn’t a bomb to Wallace but a 26-yard toss from Roethlisberger to a player who wasn’t even in the league a year ago.

“Ben’s in complete control out there,” left tackle Max Starks said. “Instead of trying to feel his way through and trying to understand this or that, when he goes out there, he knows what he wants to do.”

Maybe it’s just the final step in a nearly decade-long process that’s seen Roethlisberger win a pair of Super Bowls but also make his fair share of headlines for his off-the-field transgressions.

The precocious kid who derailed a title defense in 2006 by wrecking his motor cycle and was suspended four games in 2010 for violating the league’s personal conduct policy turned 30 last spring. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Miami (Ohio) in May and is expecting his first child with wife Ashley this winter.

While not exactly thrilled with the way the team handled Arians’ departure — the Steelers said Arians “retired” in February only to watch him get hired by the Indianapolis Colts a few weeks later — Roethlisberger didn’t pout.

Though he and Haley aren’t unlikely to be BFFs anytime soon, they’re starting to produce the kind of numbers that are reminiscent of the eye-popping totals the Arizona Cardinals put up in 2007-08 when Haley was calling the plays and Kurt Warner was turning Larry Fitzgerald into a superstar.

The Cardinals ended that 2008 season in the Super Bowl, where all Haley could do is watch from the sideline as Roethlisberger led the game-winning touchdown drive in the final moments to give the Steelers their sixth championship.

Now Haley and Roethlisberger are on the same side in Pittsburgh’s pursuit of a record seventh ring, the fiery coordinator and the sometimes stubborn quarterback creating harmony one play at a time.

“Ben can be explosive and he’s off to that start right now and it’s pretty awesome to see,” Starks said. “It’s awesome to see that maturation when he’s on all cylinders.”


Millers the sh!t
09-29-2012, 07:40 AM
Ben is playing smart football. I'm loving it. Just wish we could get a run game going. Glad miller is part of the offensive production again.

Hawaii 5-0
10-07-2012, 02:30 AM
Usually not interested in stats, Ben Roethlisberger can't wait to reach this obscure milestone

by Mark Kaboly

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has always been a guy who doesn't much care about stats or milestones.

They just don't interest him as much as winning.

However, Roethlisberger is sort of obsessed with an approaching milestone, and it's not the milestone of becoming the Steelers all-time leader in passing yards.

"I know I am only a couple yards away from rushing for 1,000 yards. That's a little cooler to me," Roethlisberger said

With 44 yards rushing, Roethlisberger will become the 43rd quarterback in NFL history to surpass 1,000 rushing yards.

Roethlisberger has 956 yards and need 13 to pass Neil Lomax, 44 to reach 1,000 and 47 to pass Fran Tarkenton.


10-07-2012, 08:09 AM
Wait, what?? Ben and Haley are acting like professionals and "get alone?" Ben understands the Rosetta Stone? :flap:

Seriously though, I love to hear that there is give and take and that Haley is accepting input too: if hand signals or whatever left over from Arian's tenure, why not use them? We still have some things that need addressed, like the run game, but I like where the offense is headed.

10-07-2012, 08:28 AM
it will be nice to see Ben pass Fran Tarkenton for scrambling/rushing yeads total. i have always seen Ben as a much more interesting and versatile scrambling qb that that overated vikings varmit.

Hawaii 5-0
10-07-2012, 10:53 PM
Big Ben pilots game-winning drive


Backed up deep in their own territory, their slow start to the season in danger of turning into a legitimate freefall, the Pittsburgh Steelers did what they always seem to do when things get tight.

Ben Roethlisberger converted a pair of critical third downs during a remarkably patient 64-yard drive over the final 6:33 and Shaun Suisham drilled a 34-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Steelers to a 16-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the rain on Sunday.

''We had the ball last,'' Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. ''Such is life.''

It's a way of life the Eagles had grown comfortable with during the season's opening month. Philadelphia (3-2) appeared on the verge of its third one-point win of the season when Michael Vick hit Brent Celek for a 2-yard score midway through the fourth quarter.

The Steelers (2-2) started at their own 20 then promptly went backwards thanks to a holding penalty.

No biggie.

Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 20 yards on third-and-12. A 15-yard screen pass to running back Rashard Mendenhall - making his return from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee - moved Pittsburgh into Eagles territory.

Two plays later Roethlisberger found Emmanuel Sanders for an eight-yard gain and five straight runs put the Steelers well within Suisham's range. The kick was good all the way, and the Steelers avoided their first 1-3 start under Tomlin.

''I always have confidence in myself and the guys that we can do it,'' said Roethlisberger after engineering his 25th career fourth-quarter comeback. ''It's good to go down. That was everybody on that drive.''

Roethlisberger completed 21 of 37 passes for 207 yards, and Mendenhall finished with 81 rushing yards and a score while adding 20 receiving yards as Pittsburgh's beleaguered running game showed signs of life.

''Our savior is back,'' Roethlisberger joked. ''We've been teasing him all week. It was great to see him out there and he did a great job.''

Vick completed 20 of 30 passes for 175 yards and two scores but fumbled twice for the Eagles, who couldn't keep their string of narrow early-season victories going. LeSean McCoy rushed for 53 yards, and caught four passes for 27 yards and a touchdown for Philadelphia.

''This one is going to burn for a minute,'' Vick said.

The Eagles trailed the whole way but put together a grinding 17-play, 79-yard drive at the start of the final quarter, converting a pair of risky fourth downs, including one deep inside their own territory. McCoy turned both into first downs, twisting for the necessary yardage on fourth-and-inches at the Philadelphia 30 then bulling for two yards on fourth-and-1 at the Pittsburgh 47.

''I don't know how I can say this humble ... we felt like we could drive on them,'' McCoy said.

Scoring, however, proved to be another matter.

''You're going to need to score more points, going to need to help our defense out a lot more,'' Vick said. ''And we tried to the best we can. Pittsburgh's a good football team; their record might not have shown it.''

The Steelers came in smarting following a 34-31 loss in Oakland two weeks ago before heading into a well-timed bye that allowed the defense to get healthy. Pittsburgh hoped the return of linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu from injury would spark a defense that looked a step slow in in the second half of losses to the Raiders and Broncos.

The reunion of the two stars didn't last long.

Polamalu left in the first quarter after re-aggravating a strained right calf and the Steelers lost outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley with a strained hamstring shortly thereafter.

Still, the Steelers prevented the Eagles from making big plays. Philadelphia's longest gain was all of 24 yards and Pittsburgh forced Vick to fumble three times - including on into the end zone that Steelers linebacker Larry Foote pounced on - and didn't let him get anything going with his legs.

''Our defense stood up today,'' said Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons. ''We really needed this win. A good team is always defined by what they do after losses.''

The in-state rivals face each other only once every four years, though things were pretty chippy. There was a considerable amount of pushing and shoving after the whistle and flow of any variety was hard to come by on a day the teams combined for 14 penalties, including nine by the Steelers.

Pittsburgh's offense found its footing first, with Mendenhall taking a lateral from Roethlisberger and dashing 13 yards for a score midway through the second quarter.

''When I stepped out there I knew I would be comfortable,'' said Mendenhall, who hadn't played since injuring the knee in a victory over Cleveland on New Year's Day. ''I just wanted to go out there and play the best that I could and I was able to do that.''

Pittsburgh made it 10-0 at the half on a 20-yard field goal by Suisham, though the Steelers missed a chance to go up two touchdowns when Jerricho Cotchery tripped going into the end zone.

Philadelphia drew within 10-7 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Vick to McCoy, setting up a dramatic fourth quarter in which the Steelers turned the tables on the Eagles.

''Things happen,'' Vick said. ''I wish I could take the fumble back on the goal line but you can't. Ultimately I think we put ourselves into a position to win this game and we didn't win.''

NOTES: Tomlin said it's too early to tell if either Woodley or Polamalu will be available for Thursday night's game in Tennessee ... The Eagles escaped injury-free according to coach Andy Reid. RB Bryce Brown left briefly with a shoulder strain while LB Mychal Kendricks went out for a bit with a sprained ankle ... The Steelers are 5-1 after bye weeks under Tomlin ... Pittsburgh TE Heath Miller had four receptions for 43 yards to become the eighth player in franchise history to top 4,000 career receiving yards ...


10-07-2012, 11:26 PM
it will be nice to see Ben pass Fran Tarkenton for scrambling/rushing yeads total. i have always seen Ben as a much more interesting and versatile scrambling qb that that overated vikings varmit.

I noticed BB having a few designed runs... as well as scrambling once or twice.
Now I get why.

tony hipchest
10-07-2012, 11:44 PM
Big Ben rescues Steelers again; with defense banged up, he'll have to continue


PITTSBURGH -- If you're the Pittsburgh Steelers, this is what you like about your latest victory: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is still Ben Roethlisberger, rescuing the club with another fourth-quarter comeback, just as he has so many times before.

But if you're the Steelers, this is what should concern you: Not only did your defense blow another fourth-quarter lead; it just subtracted two of its key playmakers.

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley is sidelined because of a hamstring injury. Troy Polamalu aggravated a calf injury that kept him out of the previous two games. And while coach Mike Tomlin wouldn't speculate, it's hard to imagine either playing in Thursday's game at Tennessee.

No wonder Tomlin said he was "thankful" for the come-from-behind 16-14 defeat of the Philadelphia Eagles, a club with a habit this season of overcoming opponents in the fourth quarter. But not this time and not against this team because ... well, because there's only one Ben Roethlisberger, and few quarterbacks make as many big plays in big games as Big Ben.

Down by one point, just over six minutes left, Roethlisberger drove the Steelers nearly the length of the field -- completing 4 of 5 passes and converting two key third downs -- to set up Shaun Suisham for the winning field goal.

While Suisham will be hailed as the hero, the difference for Pittsburgh -- again -- was Roethlisberger. He played his best when his team needed it most, and stop me if you've heard this before.

"I think all of the guys you can make an argument for being franchise quarterbacks -- that's the common tie that binds them," Tomlin said. "They come in different forms, shapes and sizes and skill sets if you will -- some of them are pocket passers; some of them are mobile -- but the reality is that if they're in that discussion it's because they deliver when it's time to deliver. No question, I don't care whom you're talking to, he's in the discussion."

He doesn't have to convince me. I've seen the guy deliver winning throws or lead winning drives too many times. In fact, if I had one game to win, Roethlisberger is one of the two or three quarterbacks I would choose -- with New England's Tom Brady another. The guy simply excels when he must.

And on Sunday he had to.

For three-and-a-half quarters he and his teammates struggled to get their act together, with receivers dropping five passes and Jerricho Cotchery tripping over the hash at the 4-yard line when he appeared headed for a certain touchdown shortly before halftime.

In the end, though, it didn't matter because Pittsburgh won, and Philadelphia didn't, and while the Steelers can tell themselves -- as wide receiver Antonio Brown did -- that "we left a lot of plays out there," they still prevailed.

And they prevailed because of their quarterback, who just produced his 25th winning drive in a fourth quarter or overtime and beat an NFC opponent at Heinz Field for the 14th time in 15 tries.

"I like to have the ball in my hands," Roethlisberger said, "and as an offense we want to control it."

That's one way of putting it. But wide receiver Emanuel Sanders, who made a critical third-down catch on the last series, had another.

"We all knew we had a job to do," he said. "We knew the team had to be put on our backs at that time, and we knew we were going to seize the moment. But that's what this game is about. It's all about those moments.

"We were sitting here at 1-2 [now 2-2], and the moment was out. It was our time to go down and drive. Everyone wants to be the guy to make that play to win the game, and everybody contributed."

He has that right. He made a third-down catch. So did Brown. Rashard Mendenhall, appearing for the first time this season, had four runs on the final possession. Isaac Redman had four more. Then, of course, there was Roethlisberger.

"We just need to play like the Pittsburgh Steelers," he said of that final drive. "We figured it's now or never."

Well, he played like he always does, and so did his teammates on offense. But it's that Pittsburgh defense that bears watching. Pittsburgh is always in the mix for the AFC North championship, but it's there because of Roethlisberger and its defense -- and it's that defense that allowed Philadelphia to drive 79 yards and convert two fourth downs on a touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter.

Of course, it's also that defense that rescued the Steelers in the first half, forcing two Michael Vick fumbles -- including one on at the goal line ... on first down, no less ... that short-circuited a sure score.

But that defense just lost two starters, and while Tomlin declined to elaborate on the extent of injuries to Woodley and Polamalu, you might want to remember that it was a sore hamstring that sidelined Woodley most of the second half of 2011.

So stay tuned, people. It's a long season, and while Roethlisberger hasn't changed, the Steelers' defense has.

Hawaii 5-0
10-07-2012, 11:59 PM
Coach Tomlin's Post-Game Comments

Coach Tomlin: It’s awesome to get out of here with a win against a very good team. Obviously, we weren’t really sharp early, particularly with some self-inflicted wounds, some things that usually occur when you come out of a bye, penalties and so forth. We have to get better in that area. But I am thankful that we were able to do what was necessary to win. Offense, defense, and special teams, a lot of contributions from all three phases. More than anything, the guys were resilient. They stayed together. They delivered the necessary plays down the stretch, which is important and the difference between winning and losing. From an injury standpoint, there’s a few to note. [LaMarr] Woodley has a right hamstring; we don’t know the severity of it. We’ll see. Working on a short week is probably not a good sign for him, but we’ll go day-to-day with that. Troy [Polamalu] re-aggravated his calf. Again, we don’t know the extent of it. Same thing, working on a short week, we’ll see. Ike Taylor was able to go back in the game. He should be fine. The rest are bumps and bruises that go along the way. I tip my hat to Philly. They’re a good team and I’m thankful we were able to win.

Re: RB Rashard Mendenhall’s performance:
I thought it was a good start. He’s always a highly conditioned guy. Obviously, he has to get a little bit more ball security. It was a great place to begin and I though he not only ran well and hard and caught the ball, but he was a source of energy for the unit. That’s what great players do. They inspire those around them. I thought he did that for the group.

Re: LB James Harrison’s conditioning:
James is another guy that’s highly conditioned. He’s in the building on off days working on conditioning and at lunch time on a daily basis. We’re going to watch him but it became evident that he was game-ready from a conditioning standpoint. It was tight ballgame and we needed his services.

Re: The weather playing a factor in getting into field goal range:
I wasn’t worried about the rain. I just was worried about his range. That was pre-determined before the game and we don’t vary from that. We don’t let the game circumstances get us tight in terms of our decision-making. We knew where he was. The weather wasn’t significant. I was more concerned about young Drew on the hold. He did a nice job.

Re: Performance of the offensive line:
We ran the ball well. I think we were over 4.5 yards per carry. We protected the quarterback. They did the job today.

Re: The game-winning drive:
We had the ball last. Such is life. A week or so ago, before went into the bye, Oakland had the ball last. Sometimes, it’s who’s got the ball last.

Re: Defense forcing turnovers:
Sometimes they’re just a by-product of doing what it is you’re supposed to do and doing it in the manner that you’re supposed to do it. I thought we did that. We were aggressive. The guys were where they were supposed to be. They were playing hard and pursuing the ball. Sometimes it’s just a by-products and I think that was the case in most instances.

Is it troubling that the defense gave up a fourth-quarter lead again?

[B]Does the fourth quarter bring out the best in QB Ben Roethlisberger?

What do you attribute that to?
I think all of the guys that you can make an argument for being franchise quarterbacks, I think that’s the common tie that binds them. They come in many different forms, shapes, and sizes and skill sets. Some of them are pocket passers. Some of them are mobile. But, the reality is if they’re in that discussion it’s because they deliver when it’s time to deliver. No question, I don’t care who you’re talking to, [Roethlisberger] is in that discussion.

Re: WR Emmanuel Sanders third down catch on the game-winning drive:
I’m not going to go through the progression with you. Obviously, he was an option.


tony hipchest
10-08-2012, 12:12 AM
come again?

10-08-2012, 09:02 AM
I can't give Ben credit for this W. The fact of the matter is, without the forced fumbles created by the D we'd be staring at an L

10-08-2012, 09:16 AM
I can't give Ben credit for this W. The fact of the matter is, without the forced fumbles created by the D we'd be staring at an L

Oh, you must not have read the article "Big Ben refuses to let Steelers Collapse" by idiot Hensley. According to him we didn't need a 53 man roster ... just put Ben out there on offense and defense all alone and he'll win it every time! :screwy:

Ben deserves some credit and he performed well ... but he's not all alone out there.

Hawaii 5-0
10-09-2012, 02:11 AM
Ben Roethlisberger remains underrated

By Daniel Jeremiah
Published: October 8, 2012

After watching the Pittsburgh Steelers squeak by the Philadelphia Eagles, 16-14 , on Sunday afternoon, I was reminded of something one league executive told me prior to the start of the season:

"Ben Roethlisberger is the most underrated player in the NFL."

At first thought, it seems odd to say a two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback is underrated, but I'm starting to buy into this theory.

Yesterday was a great example of how Big Ben just doesn't get enough credit for his play. His stat line was very ordinary: 21-for-37 for 207 yards and no touchdowns. When you look at those numbers without watching the game, it's hard to appreciate just how well Roethlisberger played.

Roethlisberger did three things on Sunday that were instrumental in the Steelers ' victory:

1) Buying time in the pocket. This Steelers offensive line is very average; Roethlisberger bails this unit out repeatedly. In Sunday's game, there were numerous times when Pittsburgh's offensive tackles were beat cleanly off the edge, but Big Ben was able to climb up in the pocket and get the ball out. When he had pressure up the middle, he side-stepped, pulled out of tackles or absorbed a hit while getting the ball out of his hand. The Eagles have a very deep and talented pass rush, but they didn't record a single sack.

2) Winning on third down. Roethlisberger showed why he's the NFL's best third-down quarterback during Pittsburgh's game-winning drive. He converted two third-down passes despite the Eagles pinning their ears back and attacking him. His ability to maintain poise, find the open man and deliver an accurate ball is uncanny. As a result of those key conversions, the Steelers not only kicked the game-clinching field goal , they also burned the final 6:33 off the game clock.

3) Protecting the ball. As the Eagles can attest, successful quarterbacking isn't just about the plays you make, it's also about the mistakes you avoid. Michael Vick lost two crucial fumbles for the Eagles , while Roethlisberger didn't record a single turnover. In fact, he has turned the ball over just once this season (a pick in the opening loss to the Denver Broncos ). Decision-making is the most important aspect of quarterback play; all the arm talent in the world isn't worth a thing if you don't know where to throw the football.

Having worked for two AFC North teams (the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns ), I have a healthy respect for Roethlisberger's talent, but I'm not sure he gets the national attention he deserves. It seems like every time top-tier quarterbacks are discussed, Big Ben is overlooked. Aaron Rodgers , Tom Brady , Drew Brees and the Manning brothers are outstanding, but Roethlisberger absolutely deserves to be in their company.