Will “Big Ben” Create “Splash Plays” Against the Bears?
Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Brown and Michael C. Wright discussed the upcoming game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears in one of the weekly “Double Coverage” pieces on ESPN.com. When the topic of Chicago’s defense came up, Wright shared how the Steelers could take advantage of some weaknesses on the Bears’ back-end:
"The Bears allowed two completions of over 40-plus yards in the opener, and six connections last week for gains of 20 yards or more. That’s too much. As you know, players such as [Antonio] Brown and [Emmanuel] Sanders can easily turn those long completions into touchdowns. And given Roethlisberger’s mobility, Chicago’s secondary can cover the receivers for only so long before they break open."
Of course, the Steelers do not have a receiver of Green’s caliber on their roster, and Heath Miller is still not “officially cleared” to play on Sunday night either. Despite those short-comings, Pittsburgh does possess speed on the outside with Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and Markus Wheaton. Best of all though, they do have the “Houdini-like” Ben Roethlisberger as their signal-caller.
The latter is not lost on Chicago’s coaching staff either, and head coach Marc Trestman had this to say about “Big Ben” and his ability to make “something out of nothing” earlier in the week:
"Last week, [Christian] Ponder got outside the pocket two or three times. We’ve got to do a better job of containing it, and we certainly have to do it with Ben because he’s really the best at it. There are a lot of faster quarterbacks in the league, but I don’t know that there’s been one any better over the last decade at extending plays under the chaos of a pass rush better than Ben Roethlisberger has done it and made bigger plays than he has over his career."
Ben’s ability to shed would-be tacklers and escape certain doom in the pocket could be a tremendous “x-factor” in Sunday’s game, and Roethlisberger’s receivers must be willing to fight to get open when their quarterback keeps plays alive with his deceptive athleticism.
While I certainly do not want to see “Big Ben” running for his life all afternoon and making miracle play after miracle play, it would be a good idea to use his athleticism to his advantage. Creating a moving pocket and quick-hitting pass-plays would be a great way for the offensive line to gain confidence, the wide receivers to get early touches, and Roethlisberger to get in a rhythm.
Still, the young and inconsistent nature of Pittsburgh’s offensive line combined with Chicago’s hungry pass-rush will force the team’s signal-caller to “Houdini” himself out of trouble at least a few times against the Bears. I just hope that Roethlisberger and his teammates will be able to hurt the Bears’ defense when the pressure ramps up and plays break down on Sunday night.
Stats & Info. Provided By: ESPN.com, Steelers.com and Pro Football Reference
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