Steelers film study: Big Ben ... pocket passer?
It has become common knowledge that Ben Roethlisberger is pretty good at eluding the pass rush and making plays down the field, and the Steelers' 27-10 win Sunday over the New York Jets was no exception.
When he moved around in the pocket — by design or necessity — Roethlisberger completed 7 of 10 passes for 98 yards and a key 37-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace, finishing with a passer rating of 134.6.
But what has been glossed over with the continued maturation of Roethlisberger as a quarterback is his ability to be a legitimate pocket passer.
Roethlisberger showed that last year against New England when he picked apart the Patriots' defense, and again against the Jets this past weekend.
Roethlisberger completed 17 of 21 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown when he was a “statue” in the pocket. He finished with a passer rating of 117.7 in those situations.
Nothing was more evident about Roethlisberger's ability to stand in the pocket and deliver a strike than on a third-and-8 late in the first quarter. With the Jets sending seven defenders, Roethlisberger rifled a pass from the left hash to the right sideline for an 18-yard gain.
It wasn't that long ago that Roethlisberger was a one-read quarterback. If the first guy in the route wasn't open, he'd scramble to try to make something happen.
It's not like that anymore.
• Offensive coordinator Todd Haley wanted to show the Jets' defense different looks during the opening drive, and he sure did. On the 10-play drive to open the game that resulted in a 45-yard Shaun Suisham field goal, Haley didn't have the same personnel grouping or formation on the field once. He did have two-receiver sets on the field for eight of the nine plays, but never the same grouping.
• A week after using the three-receiver set 51 times, the Steelers surprisingly scaled back the formation against a depleted Jets secondary by using three wide receivers only 14 times.
• Heath Miller is probably the most underrated blocking tight end in the game. Whether facing a defensive end or a linebacker Sunday, Miller was dominant.
• Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was very erratic, and that wasn't more evident or more damaging than when he overthrew a wide-open Santonio Holmes in the back of the end zone in the second quarter. A good throw would've given the Jets a 14-6 lead rather than 10-6. It was a huge momentum swing for the Steelers.
• A week after rushing the quarterback only four times until 10 minutes remained in the game, linebacker LaMarr Woodley wasn't asked to rush Sanchez frequently until the final four minutes Sunday. Woodley rushed Sanchez 14 times and dropped into coverage 13 times. However, seven of those pass rushes came on the final two drives of an already-decided game. Woodley finished with a game-high seven pressures.
• It was hard to find a player who had a better offseason than Steve McLendon. However, it is apparent the Steelers are deferring to veteran Casey Hampton, for now. Hampton took 28 snaps at nose tackle; McLendon had only 9.
• The Steelers have one of the best rotations of defensive linemen in the league, and position coach John Mitchell isn't afraid to sub in liberally. Starters Ziggy Hood (56), Brett Keisel (46) and Hampton (28) accounted for 130 snaps, and reserves Cameron Heyward (17), McLendon (9) and Al Woods (2) added 28 others.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL Draft preview: Safety crop offers no sure-fire stars
- Safety Collins seeks to buck Alabama DB trend
- Steelers legend Blount to announce team’s second-round draft pick
- Steelers wrap up pre-draft visits with four defensive players
- Miami linebacker Perryman eager to stand tall on draft day
- NFL Draft preview: UCLA’s Kendricks leads deep inside linebacker class
- NFL Draft preview: Running back class is deep, talented
- Wisconsin’s Gordon flashes ahead of the pack
- Steelers open daunting season at Patriots, play 5 prime-time games
- Steelers receiver Brown skipping voluntary offseason workouts
- Minnesota tight end Williams hopes to join father as 1st-round pick