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Old 11-11-2007, 11:17 PM   #1
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Default Great Read on Ben, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers

I was perusing Yahoo Sports tonight while checking scores and I came across this article - what a great read! Gave me chills!

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slu...yhoo&type=lgns

PITTSBURGH ? As Ben Roethlisberger rose up and headed for the field after halftime Sunday, Mike Tomlin seized the moment for an unseen coaching session. Trailing the Cleveland Browns 21-9 at Heinz Field and knowing the AFC North lead was hanging in the balance, the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach made sure to pull his franchise quarterback to the side.

"He said 'Listen, you've got a chance to win this (in minute) 29 or 30 of this half,' " Roethlisberger recalled. "I just told him, 'Hey, I'm gonna get this for you.' "

Thirty minutes and 22 Pittsburgh points later, Roethlisberger had done just that, sandwiching a 30-yard scoring scramble between a pair of passing touchdowns. That trio of pivotal plays conjured a 31-28 comeback win and established a suddenly suffocating Pittsburgh grip on the AFC North.

In many ways, that halftime moment epitomized the fingerprint Tomlin has put on this franchise, showcasing his trademark cool in the face of adversity, not to mention his unflappable confidence in his quarterback. And his little pep talk with Roethlisberger came only moments after a halftime speech where the coach put his team at ease with a booster shot of composure.

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"We went in and he wasn't panicked at all, and that was important," Steelers linebacker Lamar Woodley said. "We needed to see that he wasn't worried about it. We saw that, and we weren't worried about it. He just said, 'You guys know we haven't been here before (trailing at halftime at home). But we're not going to change what we do. We're going to take it as an opportunity to show our composure.' "

And the Steelers were the definition of poise in the second half, scoring twice to take a 24-21 lead, then bouncing back for a game-clinching score after Browns returner Joshua Cribbs seemingly sucked the oxygen out of Heinz Field with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Cribbs' score put Cleveland ahead 28-24, and set the stage for Roethlisberger, who had rocked the stadium only minutes before with a captivating 30-yard touchdown run.

Suddenly trailing again, Roethlisberger led the Steelers on a 78-yard touchdown drive that punctuated his growth this season. The drive put a spotlight on Roethlisberger at his best ? side-stepping pressure, progressing though his reads and at the end, delivering a spot-on two-yard dart to tight end Heath Miller. That touchdown would be just enough, as Cleveland's ensuing drive and game-tying 52-yard field goal fell short with six seconds left.

Taken as a microcosm of Roethlisberger's season, the fourth quarter was just the latest brush stroke on an entirely new masterpiece for the fourth-year quarterback. While he still displays the escapability and improvisation that has marked his successes in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger's decision-making has appeared to reach a new level this season. Gone are some of last year's mistakes, when he was locking on to his primary read or forcing balls into coverage.

Since offensive coordinator Bruce Arians took over in the offseason and installed his spread scheme, Roethlisberger has thrived at finding players in space ? particularly his check-down options. And his numbers suggest that he belongs in the conversation with the league's elite. As of Sunday night, only Tom Brady had thrown for more than Roethlisberger's 22 touchdown passes. And only Brady boasted a higher quarterback rating than Roethlisberger's 110.2. Such production naturally raises the question of whether he's firmly taken his place alongside Brady and the NFL's other legend in the making, Peyton Manning.

"Maybe someday I'd like (to be included in that company) if I feel like I'm up there with them," Roethlisberger said of the suggested greatness. "Let those guys get talked about. I'd rather talk about the Steelers."

What might place Roethlisberger in the company of Manning and Brady more than any statistic is his newfound knack for manipulating defenses. Not only has he been calling his own blocking coverages at the line of scrimmage, he's begun to consistently identify weaknesses in opposing defenses on the fly. A prime example Sunday came on his 30-yard touchdown run, when he recognized early in the game that Cleveland's linebackers were bailing into coverage in certain looks.

"They ran a lot of that 22 man, where they are zoned in on the receivers and the running backs," Roethlisberger said of his touchdown run. "The lanes opened up and you've got to be able to take that run."

"That's just a bonus," Miller added. "Whenever something breaks down, the receivers are covered (or) someone squeaks though the line, that's where he really becomes special."

That has parlayed into a special start in Tomlin's regime, too. With Sunday's win, Pittsburgh now has a commanding two-game lead on Cleveland in the AFC North, and with the sweep of the Browns, the tie-breaker as well. Sitting at 7-2, they have a very feasible shot at challenging Indianapolis for the AFC's No. 2 seed ? a pivotal goal, since it would get Pittsburgh out of New England's way until the AFC Championship game.

And it's worth mentioning that this team has yet to match up with the Patriots head-to-head. That will be crossed off the list on Dec. 9, when Pittsburgh travels to Foxboro to see if it can close out the victory that the Colts couldn't. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but the Steelers are earning their stripes along the way, whether by blowout or comeback.

"I thought we needed one of these," defensive end Aaron Smith said. "I didn't want it to be like this, but maybe sometimes you need to see what your team is made of as far as when they are down and what kind of character they have."

Clearly, Pittsburgh proved its mettle Sunday. And next?

"You win your division and make the playoffs," cornerback Deshea Townsend said. "Then we can start thinking big."
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Great Read on Ben, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers

Very nice read....Thanks for posting it.....I have followed Big Ben since he was at Miami of Ohio....I have always been a fan of the Mac Conference....So I was praying that Ben would fall to the Steelers on draft day 2004......He is becoming the QB I thought he would....I knew he was going to be special.....He showed this ability his first two years in the league....Only difference now Tomlin/Ariens have given him more responsibility and Ben is responding big time...
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Old 11-12-2007, 12:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Great Read on Ben, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers

Good read.. Thanks for posting.
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Old 11-12-2007, 12:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Great Read on Ben, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers

I enjoyed the article as well. Very well written!
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Old 11-12-2007, 01:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Great Read on Ben, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers

loved it... he's not brady manning yet... but i think by the end of this season he's definitely worth considering.. he's tearing up opposing defenses and finding recievers very john elway, joe montana, steve young, dan marino, johnny U esque
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Old 11-12-2007, 01:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Great Read on Ben, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhee Rhee View Post
loved it... he's not brady manning yet... but i think by the end of this season he's definitely worth considering.. he's tearing up opposing defenses and finding recievers very john elway, joe montana, steve young, dan marino, johnny U esque
he's not either of them... he's big ben. neither of those guys have the ability to create plays like ben. they can sit in the pocket and throw all day on you, but when you get an ounce of pressure on them... they crumble.
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Old 11-12-2007, 02:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: Great Read on Ben, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers

what a great read....

This year, Ben is really proving that he is beginning to enter into that upper echelon of QB's.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Great Read on Ben, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers

Great read! Big Ben epitomizing the blue collar, classy work ethic of the Steelers perfectly.

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Not only has he been calling his own blocking coverages at the line of scrimmage
Anyone else read this and wonder?
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Great Read on Ben, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers

Nice read thanks for the post.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: Great Read on Ben, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers

We are witnessing something.....someone.....very special. Humble, talented, and driven.

It's a good time to be a Steelers fan.
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