Hidden Play: Week 10 vs Carolina: Patience is a Virtue

By G.Stryker:

Games are full of special moments.  Most are easy to see and are part of the highlight reel each week.  Some moments happen just out of the limelight of the big play, but without their efforts those big plays don’t happen.  These hidden plays can be a block, a pressure, a tip, or football IQ creating the impact that is the difference between success and failure.

How good is Ben Roethlisberger?  Well according to his quarterback rating for the game against the Panthers, Ben was perfect.  He had more touchdown passes (5) than incompletions (3), all while throwing 25 passes in 3 quarters.  Well he did technically play 4 quarters, but his only play in the forth was a touchdown throw to Jaylen Samuels, before handing the reins over to Josh Dobbs, to finish the contest.  

This past week was a highlight reel of big plays, and I considered selecting Ben being sacked as a statement to their efficiency that night.  14 plays (all for positive yardage) for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns. Amazing start, and one of the best I have ever witnessed as a Steeler fan.  Instead of the sack, I’m going to concentrate on the play that happened immediately before it:

3 minutes into the second quarter, the Steelers lined up for their first 3rd down of the game, with 4 WRs (2 on each side), Vance McDonald at TE and no RB.  The Panthers stacked the line of scrimmage with 6 players in between the tackles and one deep safety.  Looking like a blitz at the snap of the football, 4 of those 6 players drop into zone, and 2 of them occupy Vance, who wasn’t even running a pattern.  With only 2 rushers being blocked by the top line in football, Ben takes his time and goes through all of his progressions. 4 seconds later, with the closest rusher being double teamed 3 yards from him, Ben spots Antonio Brown deep.  The single safety stays on the side of the field with the 2 receivers and TE, and AB merely has to run a post on the opposite side, in man coverage, and is wide open.

This play is a testament to Ben’s ability to read the defense, have confidence in his line to slow the blitz, then when it didn’t come at all, it highlighted his patience in finding the open receiver deep down the field.  With the way the offensive line is keeping Ben upright, paired with his ability to spread the ball around to every player on the field (5 TD throws to 5 different receivers), Ben’s patience solidified his first perfect passer rating in a game, since 2007.

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