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Old 12-03-2007, 07:51 AM   #1
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Default Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea

Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea
Monday, December 03, 2007
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

You want to know why former Steelers coach Bill Cowher had such a hard time even thinking about benching Ben Roethlisberger last season when Big Ben often struggled?

Last night was why.

Roethlisberger got off to a horrible start against the Cincinnati Bengals in a game the Steelers needed for some breathing room in the AFC North Division race. Three of his first six passes were overthrown. The team's first three drives went Big Ben interception, three-and-out and three-and-out. You almost could hear the Heinz Field crowd -- wet and probably a bit irritable on yet another dreary night at the ball yard -- begin to murmur. Roethlisberger was 2 of 6 for 18 yards with an interception. The Bengals led, 7-0.

Then Roethlisberger took over the game and turned it into a 24-10 victory that gave the Steelers (9-3) a two-game lead over the Cleveland Browns (7-5) in the division hair-pull, a much-needed cushion as they head to New England Sunday.

It's why you never bench the great ones.

The Steelers' three possessions in the second quarter ended in a touchdown, a field goal and a touchdown. Roethlisberger was 14 for 18 for 113 yards and a touchdown in the quarter, one of his incompletions when he spiked the ball. At one point in that stretch, he completed eight consecutive throws. Maybe it wasn't as impressive as the 15 in a row he completed in the muck against the Miami Dolphins a week ago. But it was impressive nonetheless considering the steady rain and sandy field conditions.

Roethlisberger and wide receiver Hines Ward had a nice little game of pitch-and-catch going all night. They connected five times in that second quarter for 33 yards and the 2-yard touchdown pass that gave the Steelers a 17-7 halftime lead. They picked right up in the third quarter, teaming three times for gains of 14, 10 and 8 yards on a scoring drive, the final pass a touchdown toss that bumped the lead to 24-10 and put Ward at the top of another category in the Steelers' record book. It was his 64th career touchdown reception, breaking Hall of Famer John Stallworth's franchise record.

It's easy to think Roethlisberger and Ward wished the conditions were sloppy every game. Last night and against the Dolphins, Big Ben found Ward a total of 20 times for 178 yards. Their good pal, Jerome Bettis, wasn't that good in the mud.

"If I put it close to him, he'll make the plays. That's Hines Ward," Roethlisberger said. "I'm incredibly proud and honored to get him that record."

As accurate as Roethlisberger was throwing the football after that rough start, he made the play of the game with his toughness. It was a second-and-goal play at the Bengals 6 midway through the second quarter. Roethlisberger avoided defensive end Justin Smith as he started to scramble around left end, skipping away from defensive end Johnathan Fanene along the way. By now, it was clear Big Ben had the end zone on his mind. Near the goal-line he gave up his body and dived over cornerback Leon Hall at the same time he took a violent hit from linebacker Landon Johnson. It wasn't so shocking that Roethlisberger scored, but it was surprising that he got up so easily and finished a 21-for-32, 184-yard, two-touchdown, two-interception night.

Is this a tough guy or what?

"I don't think. I'm just trying to score," Roethlisberger said.

"[Teammate] Larry Foote told me I don't know when to slide. I told him, 'You've got to know when to slide and when not to.' I thought I could get in."

Said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin: "Ben is a tremendous competitor. He gets that wild look in his eye. You love that about him. His teammates love that about him. They rally around that. They know this guy is going do whatever it takes to lead us to a victory."

All of it brought back memories of a Roethlisberger performance in Cleveland last season and something former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said afterward. Like Cowher, Whisenhunt cringed at the idea of benching his quarterback, even after Big Ben was 7 for 16 for 48 yards with three interceptions in the first three quarters against the Browns. In the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger led three touchdown drives, completing 18 of 29 passes for 224 yards and a couple of scores. The Steelers won, 24-20.

"He's so good that he's capable of doing that at any time in any game," Whisenhunt said.

That's why Roethlisberger is a franchise quarterback.

That's why you stick with him.
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea

And HE was the 3rd QB taken in that draft?!?

Thank God he was!!!! Thank God he's ours!!!
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea

I didnt think Ben shouldve Ben shouldve been benched last season, I just dont think he shouldve played until after the bye week last year, and the game after his concussion last year. We lost all of those games too.
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea

Bradshaw went through the same thing with Noll and made it work, but Ben isn't at the point where I would consider replacing him. Sure he's made mistakes but nothing that the team couldn't overcome.
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by geo123 View Post
Bradshaw went through the same thing with Noll and made it work, but Ben isn't at the point where I would consider replacing him. Sure he's made mistakes but nothing that the team couldn't overcome.
Bradshaw basically stunk his first two seasons but went on to win 4 SB rings and is a HOF QB. Noll had faith in him and stuck with him and we all know how that played out.

Ben is a total gamer and as tough as QB's come in today's NFL. He isn't afraid to use those legs or give up his body for a first down or a score. The Steelers struck paydirt by drafting him and whatever they have to do to keep him in the black and gold, they need to do it.
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
Bradshaw basically stunk his first two seasons but went on to win 4 SB rings and is a HOF QB. Noll had faith in him and stuck with him and we all know how that played out.

Ben is a total gamer and as tough as QB's come in today's NFL. He isn't afraid to use those legs or give up his body for a first down or a score. The Steelers struck paydirt by drafting him and whatever they have to do to keep him in the black and gold, they need to do it.
they will keep him i am sure they will do whatever with in reason.
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Old 12-03-2007, 03:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea

he shouldn't have played at all last year.. if anything if charlie got injured then OK but there's no way he was ready..... besides charlie is better than 50% of the backups out there
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Old 12-03-2007, 05:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea

Actually Terry sucked in his first four seasons...lol Even in 74 when the Steelers won their first Super Bowl...Terry's regular season stats were only 1177 passing yards with 10 TDs and 9 INTs....while completing 47.9 of his passes......Yes the rules favor the offensive players today and its easier for the QBs and WRs to complete passes but Terry still was terrible that season and that was his fourth year as a starter....But after those rough 4 years then Terry became a QB.

I think Ben was solid in his first two years and we all saw the signs of his potential....Then last year he gets a pass with the accident and all the injuries....But this year we're seeing Ben starting to reach his great potential and he is easily among the best QB in the NFL today and only is going to get better.....Art II and Dan Rooney should lock him up now...lol
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Old 12-03-2007, 07:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea

Ben had a trifecta last year. Cycle crash, appendix, concussion. IMO to have played Ben that quickly was a terrible decison and completely inconsiderate of the long term health of our franchise quarterback. Not because of the less than stellar season, but because it was obvious Ben wasn't fully healed from the start. Plus when you factor in how well Charlie played I was SHOCKED they put Ben back in so quickly.
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Old 12-03-2007, 07:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Benching Big Ben for slow start bad idea

i thought charlie was more than capable of winning a few games for us last year. there was absolutely no way that ben should have been playing last season until maybe the 10th game of the season.. i thought the coach wasnt concerned about his health. but that is just my opinion.
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