View Full Version : Collier: Slingin' in the rain suits Big Ben just fine

12-04-2007, 02:43 AM
This is a bit "late", but I just found it tonight, and thought it was a great article.

Thursday, November 29, 2007
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This week's little burst of Big Ben banter again attained perfect political pitch, with No. 7 reflexively deflecting credit, accepting blame, and refusing to hang anything out there rhetorically that can be picked off and returned for a motivational touchdown.

Nobody ever feels the slightest bit slighted by the spoken word of Ben Roethlisberger, and yesterday the same courtesy seemed to be extended to inanimate objects, such as your nationally reviled Heinz Field playing surface.
Ben said he prefers grass to an artificial surface, an especially prudent observation during a week of difficulties endured by the people who autograph his paychecks, but, really, why wouldn't Roethlisberger prefer even Monday night's sub-aquatic version of the North Side stage?
When you're getting thrown to the floor as often as Ben is, you come to appreciate that water-bed landing.

"The ground was soft enough that, when you landed, it didn't hurt too much," he said in reference to the shortened work week leading to the skirmish Sunday night with Cincinnati, or at least as it relates to recovery time.
Roethlisberger not only landed in the mud five times Monday night -- making it 12 sacks in two weeks by the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins, or roughly six times what both teams were averaging per game combined -- his performance when upright looked so comfortable that he seemed oblivious to the fact that it was raining a little.

"Didn't he set a record or somethin'?" Willie Reid asked yesterday before practice. Reid caught one of just two balls thought to have been thrown badly the other night (Joey Porter caught the other one), and Reid said only that the final pass of the winning drive was low. "Not a tough catch, not really."
In the uproar over Monday night's difficult Fish squish, compliments on Roethlisberger's performance were barely audible, but Reid was right. Ben set a record and tied another, both of 'em improbable given even the most ideal meteorology.

Roethlisberger completed 18 of 21 passes, 86 percent, breaking the club record set five years ago by Kordell Stewart, who completed 85 percent of his throws against Cincinnati (22 for 26). This would be not much more than a notable editing of Steelers trivia, except that Monday was not a night for breaking records; it was a night for comforters and soup and perhaps a toddy, as someone might say.
But if the record Ben broke was rather amazing, the record he tied was virtually incomprehensible considering the rain and the wind and the muck and the "protection."

From the moment Porter intercepted Roethlisberger's fifth pass at the 10:35 mark of the first quarter, until Ben flipped one incomplete to Willie Parker with 90 seconds left in the game, the quarterback completed every single pass -- 15 in a row, 16 if you count the one nullified by a Heath Miller holding penalty. It was the most electric streak of Steelers passing accuracy since Walter Brister hit 15 in a row against Detroit in October 1989.
"I asked him before the game what's the worst conditions he'd ever played in," said quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson. "He said, 'how 'bout Miami two years ago.' The hurricane."

Oh that. Three years ago to be more precise, a night memorable not just for the remaining robust remnants of Hurricane Jeanne, it happened to be Ben's first NFL start. Steelers 13, Dolphins 3. Anderson, who knows a thing or three about accuracy as the owner of the NFL record for completion percentage in a season (71 percent in 1982), said there are really no technical adjustments a quarterback can make relative to weather.

"It's different with every quarterback, but it's basically a function of hand size," Anderson said. "We're fortunate that Ben's a big guy with big hands and he controls the ball really well. In weather like that, it's sometimes just a matter of biding your time until you get an opportunity, and I thought he managed the situation very well."

Roethlisberger's rare display of frustration the other night came when Najeh Davenport lost a yard on third-and-2, ending a five-play possession that moved the ball from Miami's 48 to the 26 without Ben throwing at all.
"I have confidence in the pass," he said yesterday. "The credit goes to the receivers. I told them, 'I'll put it close to you.' Everybody did a great job."
On a night when Roethlisberger made soggy deliveries to eight receivers, Hines Ward caught half of them for 88 yards, including three of Ben's 4 for 5 on the decisive last-minute drive. Like everyone else in the locker room, Ward much prefers the upright Ben, but says keeping No. 7 that way remains a team project.

"We've all got to work on that," Ward said. "We've got to recognize the blitz, know who he's throwing to. We're all responsible when he's sacked. We've all got our hands in the cookie jar on that."
Ben will admit to waiting too long, but not to discouragement or impatience. Wouldn't be Ben.

"A lot of it is not just people screwing up," he said. "They're bringing a lot of guys; they cover people. You can only expect linemen to block for so long. We have to study more this week and be able to, when they do bring extra guys, throw the ball and get rid of it and get it to receivers. I feel like I'm seeing things better out there. It's just a matter of making sure we're all on the same page, and I think that will come real soon."
No hurry. It's only December.

12-04-2007, 11:45 AM
Ben has shown exceptional ability to play in bad weather. The Miami game and the Bengal game tested him and he played pretty darn well execution wise and completely a high percentage of his passes both short and long. Ben may drive us nuts at times with holding onto the ball or throwing an Int. but overall this dude is worth every penny of the draft money we gave him !

12-04-2007, 12:39 PM
Ben may drive us nuts at times with holding onto the ball or throwing an Int. but overall this dude is worth every penny of the draft money we gave him !