Blog Entry

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

Posted on: December 2, 2010 4:24 pm
Posted by Andy Benoit

We never hear this about Ben Roethlisberger, but he’s one of those guys who can be described as a “better athlete than quarterback”. From a pure fundamental standpoint, Roethlisberger is not a very good NFL quarterback. His footwork on dropbacks can sometimes be iffy. His pocket mechanics are occasionally slipshod, in part because his pocket awareness is raw. Roethlisberger does not read the field well before the snap. In fact, some scouts suspect that he occasionally does not reB. Roethlisberger (US Presswire)ally read the field at all.

And yet, it’s plain to see that Big Ben is one of the best players in football. A two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback capable of posting big numbers and leading heroic late-game drives. There might not be a more feared player in the game on third-and-long.

So how is Roethlisberger, given his unrefined fundamentals and awareness, a superstar? For one, he’s a remarkable athlete. No need to elaborate – we’ve all seen plays where the 6’5”, 240-pounder bounces off multiple would-be sackers, flees the pocket, sidesteps another sacker, returns to the pocket and unwinds a side-armed bull’s-eye while falling to the ground. That’s natural talent at its finest.

What’s more, Roethlisberger is instinctive beyond belief. While most quarterbacks thrive on diagnosing and anticipating what a defense will do, Roethlisberger would rather wait, see and react. When he does this, he’s relying on his instincts rather than his intelligence. He’s the only quarterback in football who can consistently operate this way.

This wait, see and react approach is the reason Roethlisberger holds the ball so long. And it’s the reason he is so difficult to gameplan against. Normally, the Ravens, with their aggressive, complex 3-4 scheme, overwhelm a quarterback who has limited field recognition. That comes from Ed Reed. With his range and uncanny football IQ, Reed disguises coverages better than any player in the game.
But disguised coverages don’t always work against the Steelers because Roethlisberger does not follow the fundamental chain of reads that quarterbacks are taught to follow. Think of it like telling a lie to someone who speaks a foreign language: your lie might be crafty and well delivered, but it won’t matter because your recipient is oblivious to everything you’re saying anyway.

In the end, Roethlisberger’s frenetic style forces defenses to be reactionary. Certain defenses – like the Colts, for example – can get by on being reactionary. But the Ravens, with their thin secondary (backup corners Chris Carr and Josh Wilson are simply fill-in starters) and dependence on presnap confusion and blitzes, cannot.

Thus, it’s important the Ravens get the type of pass-rush pressure on Roethlisberger that forces him to make quick decisions. It’s not enough to simply blitz and hit him – he’ll just extend the play and work his magic. The key is getting clean rushers at him. And the way to do that is to confuse Pittsburgh’s makeshift offensive line.

Expect the Ravens to use overload blitzes and zone exchange concepts that will force the Steeler blockers to make fast reads and be athletes (neither of which they’re particularly good at). Look for the Ravens to crowd the line of scrimmage with more players than the Steelers can block prior to the snap. Upon the snap, Baltimore will create chaos with an unpredictable array of stunts, drop backs or all-out rushes after the snap. They’ll avoid doing the same thing two plays in a row. The more confused the Steeler blockers are, the quicker Roethlisberger will be forced to get rid of the ball. The quicker he gets rid of the ball, the easier it will be for Baltimore’s front seven to dictate the action.

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Since: Sep 26, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2010 11:09 am

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

I hope Roethlisberger's well - I'd like to see a great game with all the great players involved.  Personally, my Ravenskins fantasy team is sitting Roethlisberger and starting Flacco this week, but I'm expecting the typical close came.

The wind chill index is expected to be in the 20's at game time, so it may come down to who runs better and which receivers can pull in a pass.

Since: Jul 29, 2008
Posted on: December 3, 2010 10:26 am

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

Great point dude, thanks for the history lessson.  while we are talking past accomplishments

Steelers 2 superbowls in the last 5 yrs
Ravens 1 superbowl in the last 10.  and ill even give you 1.5 superbowls since you won it with trent dilfer as starting QB

No doubt Baltimore is a great team and at their best at home.  Just too bad their best wont be enough to beat the Steelers in primetime

Since: Aug 31, 2009
Posted on: December 3, 2010 10:17 am

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

Steeler fans, do you remember the ONE (and only) time Big Ben has won in Baltimore in his entire life?  Since it only happened once, I'm sure you do.  Two years ago, remember...on a last second "touchdown" that wasn't?

This year they won't be so fortunate.

Since: Jul 29, 2008
Posted on: December 3, 2010 10:12 am

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens


The Steelers O-line is a mess but they will still win this game, they won Superbowl 43 with a sub par offensive line.  The steelers are in the middle of what will be their longest winning streak of the season, and then all the bandwagoners will jump back on after beating the Ravens in baltimore, and the Jets at Heinz field in 2 weeks.

Ravens fans, do you remember the last time your team beat the Steelers with Big Ben.  Ill give you a minute to collect your thoughts, cuz it was 4 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: December 3, 2010 7:55 am

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

It all comes down to this Sunday! As Ray Ray said in another article...

In that first game, Baltimore was forced to play without safety Ed Reed, who was on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from offseason hip surgery. Reed made his season debut on Oct. 24 and has four interceptions in five games.

"Now that everybody has everybody,'' Lewis said, "let's see how it goes down.''

GO RAVENS!!!! Ravens 21-Steelers 17

Since: Dec 3, 2010
Posted on: December 3, 2010 2:30 am

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

I think you put it a bit too strong there, Andy.  Most of what you say is true, but your conclusions are not realistic.  Rothlisberger, is indeed a play extender, which unfortunately, is not a good thing.  It allows too many drives to be halted due to sacks.  It also creates higher percentages for offensive penalities.  These too stop drives.  Many times however, Ben's extensed play results in positive ends.  He has a bit of Favre and can win or lose on those spontaneous creations.  He can read basic defenses and look down the list of receivers, but in the end he relies a lot on his instincts which are better than most.  He has shown an ability to focus and follow the coach's game plan as could be seen from his many late in the game comeback wins.  All in all, I would take the points and "Big Ben" Sunday night.   Pittsburgh-27 Baltimore-13  Go Steelers!

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2010 1:27 am

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

Andy Benoit, I will look for your articles in the future; you nailed it on a subject so many don't understand. As said, perfect name for this article.

The Ravens don't have trouble against any particular teams - they have problems with particular quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger is the second guy on that list and Tom Brady is the third, and Peyton Manning is numero uno. Tom Brady is the best of the conventional quarterbacks, so he's a problem. Big Ben and Payton Manning are polar opposites: the dumb barbarian who could fight with a blindfold on (Ben) and the sniper assassin with a predator drone on stand-by (Peyton).

This article outlines why Ben isn't fooled by the Ravens (you can't tell a lie to a deaf guy). The Ravens beat Ben (well, at least once), but they have never beat Peyton. This is because Manning is authorized to change, or even choose a play, huddle or non-huddle. He is literally an offensive co-ordinator on the field, quite possibly the most focused QB to ever play the game.

I am a die-hard Raven's fan. I hate the Colts for abandoning B-more, and no matter how much I dislike getting knocked out of the post season year after year by that guy with the big melon, not even I can deny Peyton Manning.

Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2010 4:34 pm

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

Hahaha, the title of this article is accurate as a reflection of steelers fans perceptions since from their whining after the last time they lost to us, it is apparent that Ben Roethlisberger is their eintire team.  but he's not and Rape

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