Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger possesses the unusual ability to have success throwing the ball while also holding onto it for extended periods of time. One thing that will drive offensive coaches nuts is when their QB holds onto the football, yet the thing that makes Roethlisberger great is his willingness to hold onto the ball long enough to make plays.
This enigma is best illustrated by looking at the numbers. Pittsburgh has allowed 16 sacks this season, which ranks them tied for 7th worst in the NFL. At the same time, Roethlisberger has a passer rating of 106.1, which is 4th best in the NFL. Of the 9 teams that have allowed 16 sacks or more this season, only Pittsburgh and Green Bay have passer ratings above 90. The passer ratings of the other teams are: 61.7, 87.2, 72.5, 51.9, 82.0, 47.5 and 80.2. Yuck.
So how is Roethlisberger able to put up such good numbers, and win so many games, in spite of holding the ball for so long and being sacked so many times? One reasons is his ability to throw the ball from several different positions and platforms. He can throw on the run, throw side-armed, shovel it or flip it. On top of that, his receivers have learned how to produce with a QB who is seemingly never out of the play.
“They stay with routes,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said of Pittsburgh’s receivers. “Just because the quarterback moves doesn’t mean a guy is all of a sudden going to start running back downhill at the quarterback. They stay with it.
“I don’t know how far he can throw it flat-footed. He can throw with people around his waist, or heading to the ground. He has a strong arm.”
Vikings defenders have certainly taken note of Roethlisberger’s style. DT Kevin Williams, who is 2nd on the team with 4.0 sacks, says defenders lick their chops because Roethlisberger holds onto the ball for so long. But he also acknowledged that the QB has had plenty of success because of his ability to make plays
“He takes a lot of hits holding that ball, but I mean he makes a lot of plays for that team and it keeps them in the game,” Williams said. “He’s won a lot of games taking that extra time and taking those hits.”
Tags: Kevin Williams
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