For a big guy, Ben Roethlisberger goes down quite a bit.
Roethlisberger has been sacked an NFL-high 177 times since 2008, including eight times in his last regular-season game against the Philadelphia Eagles four years ago.
That beating is fresh on Roethlisberger’s mind as the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) prepare to host the Eagles (3-1) on Sunday. Byron Leftwich had to finish up a 15-6 loss in Philadelphia on Sept. 21, 2008 after Roethlisberger took a hard hit from Brian Dawkins in the fourth quarter.
“They got after us and sacked me a bunch,” Roethlisberger said. “It was a very frustrating game. I remember after that game going to one of my teammate’s houses and saying ‘I don’t know if I can do this much longer.’ They wreak havoc on you and they create a lot of issues.”
Roethlisberger didn’t quit, of course. He was back on the field the following week for an overtime victory over Baltimore, and he wound up leading the Steelers to their second Super Bowl championship in four years that season.
“I believe,” he said, “that year ended up pretty good for us.”
Despite knocking Roethlisberger around in their last meeting, don’t tell the Eagles he’s easy to bring down. At 6-foot-5 and 241 pounds, Roethlisberger is one of the biggest quarterbacks in the league. To hear some of the Eagles, you’d think Roethlisberger was a defensive lineman.
“He’s about 260, 270 pounds, so arm tackles are not going to tackle him in the pocket. Grabbing one leg or something like that won’t work against him,” linebacker Jamar Chaney said. “Most quarterbacks, you probably can do that, but with him you can’t. When he gets outside the pocket, some of their receivers just take off down the field and he just throws it up.”
Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Trent Cole is the only one of the six players who sacked Roethlisberger four years ago still with the Eagles. He agrees with Chaney.
“He’s a big guy. You can’t tackle him low, so you have to tackle him high,” Cole said. “That’s one of the keys to getting him on the ground.”
If they don’t, Roethlisberger can cause several problems for defensive backs. Though he’s certainly not in the scrambling class of Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III or Cam Newton, Roethlisberger has a knack for escaping trouble and turning potential losses into big gains.
Many of those long pass plays occur when he’s moving out of the pocket and throwing down field to a receiver that’s wide open because the defenders came up to try to make a tackle on Roethlisberger.
“He extends plays, he’s very strong in the pocket, and he has mobility,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “He always keeps his eyes down the field. He keeps every play alive. As a secondary player, you better continue to cover your player until the play is history and it’s over, or he’s going to make you pay for it.”
The Eagles are having trouble sacking quarterbacks smaller than Roethlisberger.
After finishing tied for the league lead with 50 sacks last year, they had only seven in the first month. The Eagles not only didn’t sack Eli Manning in a 19-17 win over the New York Giants last Sunday, but they didn’t even register a hit on him.
Cole had 11 sacks last year and Jason Babin had 18 as both speedy ends thrived in defensive line coach Jim Washburn’s wide-nine system. But Cole and Babin have four combined sacks so far. Maybe seeing Roethlisberger will spark a breakout game.
“It’s coming,” Cole said. “I’m going to let you know it’s coming. We’re going to keep working hard at what we’re doing. We’re having some great practices and keep digging and trying. It’s going to come, it’s going to pop. We just have leaders who keep working hard and doing what we’re doing.
For a big guy, Ben Roethlisberger goes down quite a bit.
Bedford wrestler reaches state championship match
Bedford will have a state finalist for the second consecutive season, but it will not be the same one.
- Quartet of area wrestlers move on to PIAA semifinals
Four local wrestlers have chance for PIAA gold
Four local wrestlers will compete tonight for a spot in the state finals at the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships.
Moving on up | Nine grapplers advance to AA quarterfinals
Bedford’s Garrett Thomas said he wasn’t nervous at all.
United’s Tyler Oliver admitted that he was, even if he told his coaches that he wasn’t.
And Richland’s Nico Pecora said the pressure is on his family members, not him.
Nervous or not, those three, who were making their state tournament debuts, and six other local wrestlers won their first match at the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships on Thursday morning to qualify for today’s quarterfinal round.
Day 1 gives ups and downs for region
There was plenty of talk about roller coasters on Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center, but it had nothing to do with the thrill rides across the parking lot at Hersheypark.
It was all about the ups and downs of the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships.
Berlin boys wary of Trojans’ size, athleticism
On the same night last week that Berlin Brothersvalley was winning its first District 5-A title since 2007, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic was losing to eventual champion Lincoln Park in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
The Mountaineers (23-2), one of three area boys district champions set to begin opening-round action in the PIAA playoffs tonight, and Trojans (15-10) will square off this evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center, site of Berlin’s 65-51 district championship win over Forbes Road.
Tomahawks return home to face Jets
Johnstown Tomahawks coach Jason Spence knows numbers can be deceiving.
For instance, the Tomahawks’ Matt Meier had two goals and three points on Saturday night. Goaltender Brett Young made 41 saves.
Those statistics are impressive for 60 minutes of work. Both players had solid efforts, especially during a road game. On paper, the numbers looked good enough for a victory.
Danel helping Falcons to Division III tournament
When Chelsea Danel was a senior at North Star, the Cougars were able to win a District 5-AA basketball title.
Now Danel, a senior at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, is a key contributor on a Falcons’ hoops squad which upset top-seeded Lebanon Valley 53-47 in the Commonwealth Conference championship on Saturday. It was the ninth title for the Falcons in 13 appearances.
Pirates, Jays rained out
The Toronto Blue Jays' spring training game at the Pittsburgh Pirates was rained out Thursday.
The game will not be made up.
Ferndale grad aiding Duquesne women’s hoops
Matt Schmidt was hired as an assistant coach for the Duquesne women’s basketball team in June.
Now the former Ferndale High School standout will have his first opportunity to experience March madness with the Dukes, who are the sixth-seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament which opened Thursday in Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Va.
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- Bedford wrestler reaches state championship match