Thursday, November 08, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A few of the Steelers' touchdown plays Monday night against Baltimore may have looked like playground football, but Hines Ward said they do not want to do it that way.
Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes while scrambling away from pressure, one to Heath Miller and one to Nate Washington.
The Steelers would prefer to score without their quarterback having to do that.
"We want to go out there and have Ben going through his progressions and receivers running their proper routes and going to the first read, to the second read and checking down to the third read," Ward said yesterday. "That's what we're designed to go into.
"In this game, with the weather, guys were slipping, Ben was escaping the pass rush. Nate adjusted his route and made a huge touchdown. That's exciting, but that wasn't how the play was designed.
"We definitely can't go into a game hoping these plays are going to work all the time, because they're not. When we're playing the elite teams in the league, we have to be crisp.
"Ben does a phenomenal job when protection does break down. He stays alive, and I think the receivers have done a great job of adjusting to that. But we don't go into a game, and say 'Everybody, y'all just go out there and run around, and Ben you just find an open guy, will you?'
"That's not how our game plan works. So we definitely have a lot of improvement in that area."
High fives for Big Ben
The Elias Sports Bureau, which keeps track of NFL statistics and records, came up with more information on Roethlisberger's performance Monday night against Baltimore.
It was only the fifth time since the NFL merged with the AFL in 1970 that a quarterback threw five touchdown passes in the first half, although it has been done twice this season and four times in the past four seasons.
Minnesota's Tommy Kramer was the first to do it since the merger in 1986. It took another 18 years before someone else did it, and two did in 2004: Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts and Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles. Besides Roethlisberger, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots also threw for five in a first half this season.