The question every week for a defense facing the Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger always seem to center around his size. Roethlisberger, after all, is one of the biggest and yet most mobile quarterbacks in the league.
Ask any pass rusher in the league who the most difficult quarterback in the league to tackle is and Roethlisberger is at the top of nearly everyone’s list. And this Sunday, it is the task of a red-hot Giants pass rush to try and get to the Steelers' signal caller.
Get to him, then tackle him. Easier said than done considering his 6-foot-5-inch,240-poundframe.
This year, the Steelers' offense revolves around Roethlisberger and the passing game even more than in the past, with the unit near the bottom of the league in most rushing statistics. If the Giants want to extend their win streak to seven games, then they’ll have to pressure Roethlisberger and limit his ability to find weapons down the field, such as Antonio Brown.
But wrapping up Roethlisberger is a challenge. If there isn’t good form in tackling, then he will use his size and power to slip away and extend a play. But even with good technique there’s no guarantee that Roethlisberger is going down.
He’s just that physically strong and powerful.
“I’ve been watching that since I was a kid. I was always saying ‘How do you miss a sack on him?’ Well, he’s really strong and big. He’s tough,” Giants safety Landon Collins said this week. “If he keeps that arm loose like he always does, he always hits his guys no matter what. You could be on his ankle and he could still make a throw out of the pocket down field. Just his arm strength and ability to keep his eyes downfield even though he’s under attack.”
He's projected to throw for nearly 4,000 yards this year and once again will likely top the 30-touchdown plateau. This, even as the offense has changed a bit this year with more play-action and quicker reads.
All of which makes getting to Roethlisberger even tougher, let alone trying to tackle him.
“He is getting it out quicker. We charted – drop back pass is one thing, but these play action passes that they have which is what I think they are really good at – a couple of teams that we have done that on, the quarterback typically holds the ball a little bit long on play action,” Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. “These guys don’t and I think it is a couple of reasons; Ben gets it out quick and the guys running down the field on play action get down there faster and so the routes are developing quicker, so our D-line does not have as much time on a play action pass on first or second down to get to them and I think it has been a really big part of their offense and the reason why they have played so well.”