Ben Roethlisberger taking hits at record rates

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The schemes have changed, but the beatings have remained the same for Ben Roethlisberger.

Actually, they’ve gotten worse.

The Steelers quarterback is getting sacked at a higher rate than when he was playing under coordinator Bruce Arians, who was criticized for not sufficiently protecting the investment.

According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the 26 sacks Roethlisberger has absorbed so far puts him on pace for 59, well beyond his career-high of 50 — if he mades it that long.

Asked how he was holding up physically, Roethlisberger laughed and replied: “I am all right so far. As long as we slow it down soon.”

Including postseason games, he’s been sacked 406 times, more than any quarterback in the last 10 years. It was something he could absorb when he was younger, but at 31, they know he’s not bouncing up as quickly as in the past.

“He’s the toughest quarterback in the league but after a while, obviously you get sick of that,” right tackle Marcus Gilbert said. “Any of us would. He’s trying to get the job done and he feels pressure every time or gets hit with shots to the leg or to the head. We have to take more pride in it. Whether it’s change up the scheme or just get better with the line — and the injuries aren’t helping. . . .

“It stinks to see him come in the next day limping around, barely walking. You got to be better, you have to take pride in that.”

Line problems have been a persistent issue, and it doesn’t help that right guard David DeCastro (ankle) hasn’t practiced this week. Left guard Ramon Foster (concussion) did, and the Steelers have to hope they can patch something together to keep Roethlisberger upright.

45 responses to “Ben Roethlisberger taking hits at record rates

  1. These are as much scheme issues as they are line issues. Haley’s pathetic playcalling has resulted in a Steelers offense that anyone watching the game much less opponents who play the game can predict. Empty backfields that eliminate play action. A refusal to spread out receivers and a reliance on a limited run game mean teems can tee off on Ben.

    Everything Haley has done this season, with minor exceptions like some Wildcat tossed into the Ravens game mean defenses can set up tents in the box and play the rush on their way to the QB.

  2. If any more steelers fans complain about Big Ben. He should automatically be shipped to Vikings where we will appreciate him.

  3. Pittsburgh has to be very deliberate in how they rebuild this football team. If you make keeping Roethlisberger’s body in one piece your primary objective, that’s going to pull a lot of resources away from revamping that defense, and that might not necessarily be the best way for them to get back to winning in 2016 and beyond

  4. He’s always held the ball too long, and gotten away with it because he was big and strong enough to absorb the hits — plus he had a good running game that slowed the pass rush. Sounds like his inability to read and react may be finally catching up with him.

  5. Ben has to take the blame on some of the hits he takes. Rather than releasing the ball quickly or just throwing the ball away, he is always trying to make the play. Sometimes his size can be a detriment to his health, taking unnecessary hits because he believes he can absorb them and get away to make a play.

  6. love all the poor qb sympathy being given to big ben and any qb who gets sacked this year. for 4 years Jay Cutler was pounded and sacked at a record pace and according to the experts it is because he sucked. all because he didn’t smile and dared show signs of emotion we he took his beatings. but because ben is nice to the media let’s feel sorry and offer excuses for him.

  7. Horrible O-line play is a league-wide problem. Andy Dalton was sacked five times on Thursday night, and Russell Wilson was sacked seven times on Monday.
    Going back to the Colts’ 39-33 win over the Broncos, that game was the most physical high-scoring shootout I’ve ever seen. Manning was battered throughout that game.
    The Steelers’ O-line problems are not unique. Bouchette probably would know this if wasn’t the team’s beat writer and was able to actually watch other games involving other teams. Roethlisberger’s 26 sacks aren’t even the most in the league.
    In Pittsburgh, it’s all about the media making excuses for their best-buddy QB.

  8. Maybe now the league will change the rules to allow quarterbacks to throw the ball away if no one is open.

    Oh wait….

  9. So he’s taking a beating with this crap OC that was supposed to slow the beatings. I would rather see him take a beating and win games. not throw the WR screen 6x per game for an average of 1.1 yards.

    Fire haley!

  10. Here’s why Roethlisberger takes so many hits.

    1 – He’s not a big film room student of the game type.
    2 – He can’t read defenses.
    3 – He can’t process information quickly.
    4 – He can’t throw timing patterns, lead receivers, hit receivers in stride or throw into tight windows.

    Roethlisberger’s game is to “extend” plays by shaking off tacklers until receivers can get wide open and he can see them wide open and throw it to them.

    The problem with this is it does not lead to a high scoring offense. He can hit the occasional 3rd and 12 or 3rd and 18 but all the sacks are absolute drive killers. Throw in some fumbles and interceptions and you have a consistent bottom 10 scoring offense.

    The Steeler defense used to be able to carry him on its back to six or seven 13-9 wins each season and drag Roethlisberger into the playoffs where he would be badly outplayed by the likes of Garrard, Sanchez and Tebow.

    Sadly the Steeler defense is not #1 in the entire NFL anymore and Roethlisberger simply cannot carry the team to victory and in fact is a weak link.

    In my opinion ….. if the Steelers had made Charlie Batch their starter in training camp last year they would have made the playoffs. If the Steelers had made Landry Jones the starter in training camp this year they would still have at least two wins and maybe more.

    No more playoff wins for the Steelers until at least 2017 when hopefully both Roethlisberger and Tomlin will be gone.

  11. The Pats had 6 sacks in the 2nd half against the lousy Dolphins Oline last week, the Steelers look to be just as vulnerable in that respect.

    Hopefully Ben will be flat on his back several times on Sunday.

  12. At least 25% of these hits and sacks can be attributed to roethlisberger holding onto the ball and trying to make something out of nothing on plays, when he should realistically throw the ball away. However the rest can all be attributed to patchwork offensive lines, with players who haven’t played up to their potential. I believe the amount of hits Ben has taken along with his ability to still win games only proves his toughness and competitiveness. Put other QBs in bens position, and most would not hold up under those amounts of hits, and not win as many games. However bobzilla will be on here shortly to tell us 75% of the hits and sacks are roethlisbergers fault, and that the rest is the blame of tomlin. No Ben does not have the accuracy of a Rodgers or Brady, or the football acumen of a Peyton. Manning, but none of them have his toughness, and rarely if ever does Ben get the benefit of roughing the passer calls the way they do. Every QB has one thing that puts them above others. For ben it is his ability to shake off defenders scramble while continuing to look down field, and making something out of nothing. It’s not always pretty, and there are times are where you think, what is he doing, immediately followed by WOW, I can’t believe he got out of that and made that great throw.

  13. “It stinks to see him come in the next day limping around, barely walking.”

    This won’t end well…………..

  14. For years I blamed bad offensive lines for the terrible on-field abuse of Ben Roethlisberger. Then he insisted on playing the 49ers in 2011 despite being physically unable to perform and a liability to the team. Tomlin let him play, keeping a mauled Roethlisberger in the game because it was what Ben wanted. The light came on.

    Ben loves this. He thrives on the tough-guy image. That’s why he publicizes every bump and scrape … but plays anyway. He wants to be thought of as the guy who can take all the punishment and still pull out the miracle win at the last second.

    The problem is that his image of himself no longer dovetails with reality. No one can take that amount of punishment and continue to perform at top level as his body ages. As others have said, he’s refused to study, to learn to read a defense, to improve his release time. He’s counted on his ability to face the onslaught of increasingly younger, faster defenses and overcome. And the team is paying the price for his folly.

  15. Deb:
    I concur…
    However, Roethlisberger and his many obsessives, apologists and groupies are actually “thankful” for all the built-in excuses: his alleged debilitating injuries, alleged weak O-line and alleged incompetent offensive coordinator.
    With so many excuses, the big, strong, tough, courage Popeye-of-a quarterback, win or lose, is always in a no-lose situation.
    I’m so tired of the media portraying Roethlisberger as some sort of ($100 million) victim; as a marvelous talent stuck with a pitiful O-line and a terrible OC.
    Poor Ben.
    I’ll be so glad when this distracting Era of The Big Ben Persona comes to an end…
    Is it 2015 yet?

  16. Big Ben is the best! Bobzilla forgets the 2 decades of futility at the An position until Ben came we won 0 superbowls from1979 -2005. Bens 2nd year in the league! We have been to 3 super bowls since Ben came here. That’s not by mistake. He is a winner and a 1st ballot hall of gamer. Deb and no zilla will have to deal with watching his enshrinement. And I love it!

  17. @bigbenownsthenfl …

    Like some others on the football blogs, you don’t get me at all. My teams are like family to me. Saw an ad where Robin Roberts talked about how football can’t cure cancer, but can make it easier to bear. I used to say faith, family, and football were how I survived three devastating cancer battles and much more. Though I love Alabama, the Steelers inspired me through the worst of that.

    I will always be grateful for the positive things Ben brought to Pittsburgh. He ended 21 years of drought at the quarterback position. He has more natural gifts than even Tom Brady. I’d be thrilled to see him inducted into the Hall. But it takes more than natural gifts and championships to make that happen. Brady, Manning, Brees, Rodgers–these guys study film and prep constantly to grow in the position. Ben never wanted to do that. He’s his own worst enemy … along with the people around him who fawn over him without requiring him to live up to his full potential.

  18. so I guess youre in the film room and at all team meetings?? huh? never knew that. and I suppose you know the study habits of Rodgers, brees, etc… that’s remarkable. point is… if you have 2 seconds to throw I don’t care if you are joe Montana you are gonna look like crap! all of those guys you mentioned happened to all have awesome offensive lines. pretty weird huh? I think you should focus the blame on tomlin and Colbert for whiffing on numerous drafts! not the QB. if ben had a better line he would throw up ungodly stats no doubt about it! this team has 99 problems but the QB position isn’t 1 of them!!!

  19. Deb:
    I concur…
    However, Roethlisberger and his many obsessives, apologists and groupies are actually “thankful” for all the built-in excuses: his alleged debilitating injuries, alleged weak O-line and alleged incompetent offensive coordinator.
    With so many excuses, the big, strong, tough, courage Popeye-of-a quarterback, win or lose, is always in a no-lose situation.
    I’m so tired of the media portraying Roethlisberger as some sort of ($100 million) victim; as a marvelous talent stuck with a pitiful O-line and a terrible OC.
    Poor Ben.
    I’ll be so glad when this distracting Era of The Big Ben Persona comes to an end…
    Is it 2015 yet?

    I’ll be glad too as we won’t suffer your daily negativity oracle of the prune. Every article you feel the need to post the same negative comments. As a casual fan you take yourself way too seriously. The drop off in posters on steeler threads is not all about their record…..your constant bleating is getting old…us casuals get it…you don’t like Ben…so stop already!

  20. @bigbenownsthenfl …

    No, I’m not in the locker room. Ben’s issues with lack of preparation have been well-publicized since he first came into the league. Pity you don’t actually study the team–you just slam those who do.

    Thanks for the suggestions, but I’m a longtime student of the game and have been commenting here for years without your assistance. I’ll continue to post my views as I see fit, whether or not they meet the approval of the junior high contingent.

  21. stillers213:
    There are two kinds of “fans” in regards to the Pittsburgh Steelers: 1.) Those who follow the TEAM; 2.) Those who pee their pants at the first sight of the rockstar quarterback.
    bigfool, steelcurtainn, jmblosser, anyone with big ben in their names, those are the “fans” with the bladder-control problems…

    As far as Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame credentials: I feel certain once the number-crunchers get through computing the low TD totals and his horrible Super Bowl stats, there will be no “Big Ben Day Parade” in Canton.

  22. skolvikesskol says:
    Nov 1, 2013 8:46 AM
    If any more steelers fans complain about Big Ben. He should automatically be shipped to Vikings where we will appreciate him.

    I’m with you, skol. Bill Polian called Roethlisberger’s effort against Minnesota one of the greatest QB performances he’d ever seen. And that’s in a losing cause. Because Polian knows the lack of support and poor OL play Ben is up against every week. NO other QB in football has to put up with what Ben does. Put Manning, Brady or Brees on the Steelers and watch how many games they lose.

    Some good advice for us all: take whatever “citizen strange” says, then think the complete opposite. There you’ll find what’s known as “reality.”

  23. I don’t need Bill Polian — or anyone else from QB-obsessed ESPN, for that matter — to tell me what is or what isn’t a great quarterback performance.
    Roethlisberger hasn’t played “great” since late in the 2009 season, when he won a meaningless high-scoring shootout against Aaron Rodgers in Pittsburgh. In fact, that was probably Roethlisberger’s “greatest” performance since the 2005 playoffs.
    Roethlisberger has never been a “great” quarterback. Roethlisberger has been, at times, a good quarterback who has had a few great moments.
    However, over the past 11 games of his career, you’d have to be a close relative of his to even think he’s even played well, let alone played great.
    If Polian actually said what he say he said, then he was being charitable toward a quarterback who has gone from being sometimes good to consistently below average.

  24. bobzilla
    I am pretty sure nofool, jmblosser, myself and anyone with the name big ben know how to follow the Pittsburgh Steelers. You obviously have been drinking way too much prune juice to make a statement about bladder control problems.

    Without Big Ben there are no steeler superbowls in the last 10 years. No matter what you say……..Big Ben, obviously, could be a better qb but you should appreciate what he has done for the organization instead posting your daily negativity rant of him. You certainly are entitled to your opinion, but you go above and beyond criticism of Big Ben when you have NO REAL insight inside the organization. Only an outside view like the rest of us. Heres a suggestion, act like a steeler fan because you don’t sound like one.

    You state Big Ben has never been a great qb but at times good. Great Bobzilla, He’s been a good qb, whose debating you. Let it go!!!! He’s still been part responsible for getting the steelers to 3 superbowls and winning 2 of them.

    If you say the defense is the only reason the steelers won them superbowls, your just lying to yourself. And you must not understand, TEAM CONCEPT……. Big Ben was just as responsible for getting the steelers to them superbowls as the defense was….Somehow I feel like I have been over this script with you. Seems like groundhog day over and over.

  25. “Just as responsible” would mean equal. Therefore, you are wrong. There is zero equality when an offense ranks in the bottom third of the league, while a defense ranks No. 1. That’s simple math.
    My postings are inspired by the subjects of the threads and the opinions of others. If you don’t like what I post, don’t read ’em.
    Pretty simple.
    Sounding “like a Steelers fan,” that would mean I’d have to ignore my own team’s shortcomings and be critical of other teams.
    No thanks.
    But I appreciate your concern.

  26. @bob …

    You know … that Packers game is the last that stands out for me, too. Didn’t even realize it was so long ago.

    Polian, for all his misogyny, has a great football mind. But let’s look at his record. Four Super Bowl losses in Buffalo. One win in Indy. Deciding to give up on a possible perfect season only to lose the Super Bowl in the end. At least the Pats went down in ’07 with all flags flying. Like a lot of people, I think Polian developed an opinion about Roethliberger early in Ben’s career and is loathe to relinquish it.

    Ben was a guy with a lot of natural ability who used his size and juking talent to sometimes make magic happen. Pair that with the best defense in football, and the Steelers finally overcame their championship drought. But take away that defense, add some age and weight … and Ben’s just not that guy anymore. People just can’t accept the reality of of the here and now: He’s taking hits at record rates and the team is 2-5. No matter how the Steelers proceed, those hits will wind up benching him sooner than later.

  27. steelcurtainn — it’s pointless. Ben Roethlisberger will never get the credit he deserves from a segment of Steeler fans. Frankly these fans don’t deserve what he’s brought to them, because they can’t appreciate it. There are fans of probably 25 other teams who would kill to have Ben as their QB, but these Steeler fans? Never satisfied.

    The fact is, there is NO way the Steelers get their last two rings without Roethlisberger. The Steelers are 6-10 with that “#1” defense the year before Ben comes in. They’re 15-1 once he takes over. But hey, just a coincidence huh? Yeah, right.

    The Steelers under Cowher couldn’t win a ring even though the Blitzburgh defense, the offensive lines and running games were all SUPERIOR to what the Steelers had by the time Ben took over. But all of a sudden BAM! Two rings in a few short years after he comes in. But again, all just coincidence right? Had nothing to do with the QB.

    Yes, he stunk stat wise in his first Bowl, but the fact is the Steelers never even get CLOSE to the Super Bowl in ’05 without Ben’s red-hot passing performances in the three playoff games. Go back and look at how INVISIBLE the running game was for those three playoff games. The Steelers run game did what it always did under Cowher: disappear in the playoffs. The difference was, this time they FINALLY has a star passer to make up the difference. Roethlisberger was putting up 125 passer rating performances with ZERO run support. THAT’S why the Steelers made the Super Bowl. The defense did fine, but the defense OFTEN had been excellent in the playoffs and the team still lost. It was the QB who made the difference this time around. Duh.

    In the second Bowl, sorry, Ben WAS the MVP. Regardless of the voter bias. If Flacco, who disappeared entirely in the second half of his Bowl, could get voted MVP, then so should Ben, who CAME THROUGH at game’s end rather than faded like Flacco. Jacoby Jones did as much receiving-wise as Holmes, and to boot added a kick return TD that saved the game for Baltimore, but yet they still chose Flacco. Only some whack-o difference in voter stands kept Ben from getting voted MVP.

    Remember, Holmes first DROPPED what should have been the winning TD in the Super Bowl. Thanks to Ben, he got a second chance to make that great corner catch. But they still gave it to Holmes anyway. Is that how it should’ve been?

    As for that “#1 defense” yes statistically maybe, but how many times since ’05 have they BLOWN late leads in games? And had to be bailed out by Ben? That “#1 defense” would have gone down against Arizona in history for blowing such a huge lead had the Steelers lost… they had to watch from the sidelines praying Ben would lead yet another late drive so they could collect their rings instead of their goat horns.

    And yet Roethlisberger will leave Pittsburgh one day never getting the full credit he deserves from certain Steeler fans. How they can’t appreciate the obvious is beyond me.

  28. The defense wasn’t number one in 2003, the year before Roethlisberger was drafted. I don’t recall ever saying it was.
    Cowher did some major overhauling to a defense that had been pathetic in 2002 and 2003. Remember Lethon Flowers? Dwayne Washington? Those guys were sent packing and were replaced by quality players. Troy Polamalu was drafted in 2003. Remember?
    James Farrior, Ike Taylor and Casey Hampton were added to the mix, and in 2004, the Steelers’ defense was No. 1, which sparked a succession of top-5 defenses in Pittsburgh.
    Tired of hearing about “blown late leads.” It’s not easy to hold opposing offenses to 10 points for entire game. Most of Roethlisberger’s “miraculous” comebacks were overcoming 10-9 deficits. Remember that 11-10 win against the Chargers in 2008?
    Yep, that was all Ben.
    You people are pathetic.

  29. @ampatsisahypocrite …

    To be honest, I’m not sure what you guys want. I’ve posted many times that Ben was “the guy”–the answer to our 21-year post-Bradshaw quarterback drought. As bob knows, I’ve said Ben is the reason we got to SBXL. Yeah, his stats were terrible in that game, but without him, we wouldn’t have been in that game. And though he didn’t have a great SBXLIII, the memory of that final drive still gives me chills.

    A photo of him making “the Tackle” is on the wall of my Steeler room, I give him all the credit a star franchise QB should get, and will be forever grateful for what he’s brought to the Steelers.

    But does he have résumé today to get in the Hall of Fame? Probably not. Certainly not on first ballot. Has he done the mental work necessary to read defenses and keep from “taking hits at record rates”? No, he hasn’t. And as a result, he’s making more mistakes and becoming more injury-prone. That was entirely predictable.

    Joe Montana was pushed out of San Francisco. Brett Favre was pushed out of Green Bay. Peyton Manning was pushed out of Indy. I appreciate Ben Roethlisberger’s place in Steeler history. But he hasn’t done more for our team than they did for theirs. Every story has an ending.

  30. Deb:
    The “Big Ben Fanatics” want to move into his basement. That’s all there is to it.
    I was onboard with Roethlisberger immediately. He reminded me in 2004 so much of a young Terry Bradshaw. In some instances, he was better than Bradshaw back then. He certainly had a better team as a rookie than Bradshaw had in 1970. Regardless, this kid Ben had the “IT” factor.
    Roethlisberger’s 2005 playoff performances were spectacular; the best by a QB in Steelers’ history. Cowher cut him loose, and the kid was sensational.
    I even dismissed his SB 40 performance. Nerves, I figured. Then came the 2006 season. No playoffs. Then Roethlisberger was horrible against Jacksonville in the 2007 playoffs: Three interceptions, including the pick-6, all in the first half.
    He was so-so in 2008. Our defense, meanwhile, was scary good. Remember the game against Dallas, when DeShea Townsend returned a pick late for a TD? Roethlisberger was given credit for a miracle fourth-quarter comeback. That made he smile.
    In SB 43, he put together a game-winning drive that was against a prevent defense by the worst defensive team in SB history.
    Plus, James Harrison’s remarkable TD had been made possible by a Roethlisberger interception. Oh, the irony. Yet some people believe their Big Ben was that game’s MVP. Laughable.
    Roethlisberger has been a QB who averages about 20 TD passes a season. In today’s NFL, that’s extremely unremarkable.
    Now he’s fat, older and slower. And he no longer has the defense watching his back that he once had.
    It’s difficult for me to defend a career that’s been so mediocre. During the ’08 season, I stopped being impressed, and he has done nothing since to make me want to change my thinking.

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