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Old 11-29-2006, 11:44 PM   #1
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Default Steelers' Roethlisberger getting weekly pummeling

Steelers' Roethlisberger getting weekly pummeling

By The Associated Press
Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nothing in Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's first two NFL seasons prepared him for this.

Roethlisberger is getting tossed around like a tackling dummy nearly every week, absorbing big hit after big hit as what traditionally is one of the NFL's best offensive lines fails to provide much protection.

In Atlanta, Roethlisberger sustained a concussion while being steamrollered by three defenders on a single play. In Oakland, he was under such constant pressure that he rushed to get passes off and wound up throwing four interceptions.

And no Steelers quarterback of recent vintage took the pummeling he did during a 27-0 loss Sunday in Baltimore, when he was sacked nine times. That tied a team record for the most sacks allowed since the NFL began recognizing the statistic in 1982.

One hit, by the Ravens' Bart Scott, caused Roethlisberger's head to strike the turf with such a resounding noise that players 30 yards away turned immediately to see what had happened.

"That's probably the hardest I've been hit in my life," Roethlisberger said. "I truly felt that way. He just knocked the wind out of me and I couldn't really breathe very well."

No doubt Roethlisberger considers himself lucky he didn't experience his third concussion of the year, to go with the one in Atlanta and the one that occurred during his near-fatal motorcycle crash in June.

A year ago, Roethlisberger was being compared to Terry Bradshaw for his leadership, maturity and performance under pressure while leading the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory in only his second NFL season.

This season, he looks more like Bubby Brister during the late 1980s, forced to run for his life on several plays a series as his line is unable to handle the nonstop blitzing that opponents are throwing at them.

"He got banged up out there pretty good," coach Bill Cowher said after Sunday's game.

With the Steelers' season effectively over -- they are 4-7 and well out of playoff contention -- they must be wondering whether they are taking a few seasons off their QB's future by letting him get bounced around every week.

Still, Cowher saw no reason to pull Roethlisberger in Baltimore, even though Ravens quarterback Steve McNair sat out most of the fourth quarter to avoid any unnecessary injury.

"Ben wanted to be out there," Cowher said. "It's one of those situations where you don't want to not be out there with the rest of your teammates who are out there fighting and battling. There's a lot to be said about that."

However, no quarterback can make plays when he is being tossed on his backside.

Roethlisberger (36 sacks) and backup Charlie Batch (3) have been sacked 39 times, the fourth highest total in the NFL. By comparison, the Steelers' defense is tied for sixth with 29 sacks, or 10 fewer times than their own QBs have been dropped.

Steelers guard Alan Faneca and center Jeff Hartings are Pro Bowl regulars, yet even they are struggling as opponents often send more blitzers than the Steelers have blockers to defend them.

"Teams watch film and that's the way to get things done, to bring the house," Roethlisberger said.

Asked if he expects Tampa Bay to gamble Sunday by sending extra pass rushers, Faneca said, "If they're smart, they're going to do something like that, so we have to expect anything."

One reason why defenses keep teeing off on Roethlisberger is the inconsistency of the Steelers' running game. Willie Parker has gained at least 100 yards in four of their five home games, including a 213-yard effort against New Orleans. But Parker has been held below 50 yards four times on the road.

Also, the Steelers are constantly falling behind early in games, and that is forcing them to throw much more than they ordinarily would. They know they can't allow that to happen against Tampa Bay (3-8), especially with top receiver Hines Ward out with a knee injury.

"We need to get that (running game) going," Roethlisberger said. "I know the line will take that on their shoulders."

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Old 11-30-2006, 07:35 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Roethlisberger getting weekly pummeling

He cant make plays when he is looking up at the sky. Get the running game going and the pressue is off of Ben and he can make plays.
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Old 11-30-2006, 08:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' Roethlisberger getting weekly pummeling

I love Big Ben and I just hope that this year is not the upcoming events of his could have been... a great career... But if our O Line doesnt gett better, then he is in for a long one, or short as far as that goes.. career in Pittsburgh..
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Old 11-30-2006, 09:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' Roethlisberger getting weekly pummeling

Watching Ben go down that many times was one of the most painful parts of watching that game for me. Thankfully he got back up!

Thanks to MeanJoe for surprising me with my new sig.
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Old 11-30-2006, 10:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' Roethlisberger getting weekly pummeling

You can do a few things to stop opposing defenses 'bringing the house' on so many plays.

1. Screen plays

2. Draw plays

3. Have the O-line play up to their billing and give Ben enough time to make a big play downfield.

4. Have your QB hit his 'hot read' before the other team squashes him.

The only way to bring these teams out of the blitz mode is to hit them for big plays on a regular basis - nullifying the effect of that blitz.

Its fair to say that the Steelers haven't done that because the playcalling has been poor, Ben hasn't been as sharp as he needs to be (injury related), and the WR's have dropped way too many passes.

If you dont punish a team for blitzing you they will bring it out all day.

They've been great for a while now, three Super Bowls' worth of great. But only this season have the New England Patriots become The Show, the must-see team of stars, pretty boys and reformed bad boys. Suddenly, the Patriots are not simply great; they're compelling, fascinating, appearing to be almighty and a touch lawless.
The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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Old 11-30-2006, 08:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' Roethlisberger getting weekly pummeling

Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post

3. Have the O-line play up to their billing and give Ben enough time to make a big play downfield.
The most important part, IMO. They couldn't have blocked my grandmother this past Sunday. It was pathetic.
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