Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Big Ben, Godsend Craptacular


I come to bury Ben Roethlisberger, not to Rumph him.

In the second snap of the Steelers' Week 2 loss against Jacksonville, Ben Roethlisberger completed an 8-yard pass to Heath Miller, whereupon Joe Theeeeessssman declared the quarterback to be "back" much in the same way he would the following week about the city of New Orleans. That's when Steeler Nation Country Anarcho-Syndicalist State Protectorate fans knew everything was fucked.

Everyone wants to blame the motorcycle crash, the appendectomy, or the maladies and organ failures we don't even know about yet and I'm sure all that has playing a sizeable role in his struggles. Pinning it all on that, though, is either to be facile or an apologist. Another suggestion, usually made by the haters (Caveman) is that Ben is an effective game manager who has been exposed now that he's being called on to do more for the team and his strong O-line and support system have let him down.

As for the "game manager" charge: no shit. He's a quarterback for the Steelers. There's no chicken-or-the-egg in Cowher's system, the run sets up the pass. As a quarterback, you're asked to get a lead and not make any costly mistakes that would make it harder for the defense to protect it. One could make the argument that because the age of the vertical passing game is behind us, every quarterback in the league, from Peyton to Vick, is a game manager to some extent. Not too many quarterbacks are able, much less allowed, to consistently drop back and try to win the game on their own.

The rest of the argument is flawed on two counts: first, it overstates the role of Bettis and Randle El in the offense. It suggest some change in the O-line that hasn't happened. Pass blocking has never been their forte. Ben creates time by moving around the pocket, and he's no less mobile this year than in the pass but seems hesitant to run downfield when coverage is tight and there's an opening to take off. The special teams and goal line offense has suffered with these departures but the overall offensive gameplanning hasn't changed. Willie Parker is having a fine year, so it's not like this is 2003 with Amos Zereoue where they have to abandon the running game. And, secondly, it would be one thing if defenses were keying on routes or receivers that he frequently targets. Rather, Ben is making uncharacteristically bad reads, frequently under little pressure and looks afraid to take some hits (he isn't running even when he has the chance - he looked downright terrified on the second pick Sunday, with a rusher coming at him he jumped backwards and basically chucked the ball straight up in the air to a defender with no one within 10 yards of him - this makes O'Donnell smile).

Granted, Ben has proven himself prone to the occasional devastating brain[cramp] over the years. Although still a rookie, he served up a nice fat one for Rodney Harrison to essentially lose the 2004 AFC Championship late in the first half when they still had a fighting chance. His running touchdown notwithstanding, he was the Seahawks conspiracy theorists best friend during the Super Bowl. Without his inexplicably terribly underthown pick in the endzone, the score is 21-3 midway through the third quarter, the game is pretty much over and the 12 Seahawks fans would be forced to shitcan their whine harvest for the year.

During the game Sunday against the Chargers, Al Michaels used the magic of cleverly manipulating statistics to suggest Ben's struggles date back to last year. Loogit, he had a bad rating in the Super Bowl, just like his first few starts in 2006! Wait, his rating in the three AFC playoff games was over 120? Uhhhh, we can disregard that, right? Quick Madden, doodle some shit, post-haste! Talk about Turkduckken or how offensive linemen never get their due. Because, of course, one game seven months before a few more bad ones equals clear ominous trend. Cue the dog with the shifting eyes.

I know, let's do another vacuous analyst exercise and project Ben's final stats based on his first three starts:

510 Att 275 Com 2845 Yds 53.9% 0 TDs 35 INTs

Ooooooh...35 picks? Does that elevate him to gunslinger status? He does have as many rings as Favre. He's way behind on the substance abuse but he shows remarkable potential on that front.

Addendum: Sorry this is long and isn't exactly bringing the funny. I've been exposed as lame contributor who eats Homoszechuan beef and reads Dykes To Watch Out For. I'm considering rehab.


Captain Caveman said...

Ape, if it makes you feel any better, Hasselbeck also has 7 picks in as many games this year.

Wait, why am I trying to make you feel better? Go fuck yourself. I hope the Steelers go 1-15. No: 5-11. I don't want them to get too good of a draft pick.

PUNTE said...

Dwayne Wade thinks you guys got a lot of calls in the SB.

JoSCh said...

As one of the 12, I say fuck you sir. Ben and the rest of the Stealers suck balls, poorly.

HAHA, take that Pennsyl-tucky!

Gentlewhoadie Apt One said...

I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that he was rushed back into the Jacksonville game. He took some bruises and that sausage diagram they showed made it clear that there was potential for some permenant damage and he knew that.

That said, even though it's taking longer for him to recover, you can't pull him and put Chaz in like we used to in the Tom-sack, Kordell days. That was an even bigger disaster.

Personally, I think that a lot of the blame in the passing game has to go to the receivers. For years, the Steelers had an awful receiving corps- Ernie Mills, Charles Johnson. Terrible. We forgot how difficult it was to actually groom a crop of quality receivers and we didn't put enough money into keeping them. Now we have a bunch of slow posession receivers and a rookie who doesn't know shit yet.

Gentlewhoadie Apt One said...

one more thing:
Willie Parker is a Barry Sanders-eque back. Not that he's anywhere close to as good as Sanders, but because he will either gain 10+ yards or 0- yards. Since the 'Lers run on every damn first down, half the time they end up in 2nd and 11s, 2nd and 12s. bad news when you have a quarterback who has a colonoscopy bag.

peytonloveskenny said...

At least in "Pennsyl-tucky" we're intelligent enough to figure out the refs didn't really care who won the Super Bowl.

swing4 said...
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swing4 said...
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Sean Carter said...

Ben's had a bad start from 2006... Hope it comes out of it into form soon... Peep into this amazing Christmas Blog to check out some really cool stuffs and unique ideas

Landru said...


You're whinging. Suck it up. Some of us have to call Mark Brunell our quarterback. Does our horrible suffering mean nothing to you?

Yes, corruption is the only reason refs fuck up. It has nothing to do with them being stupid or timid. Ever. Especially not in divisional playoff games.

And brought out a pimp! Isn't that cute?

JoSCh said...

Sorry, thought this was a humor site... although I spose Stealer fans whining about Seahawk fans past whining is funny in an ironic way.

Pacifist Viking said...

Is that guy next to God in that picture Dick Cheney?

Unknown said...

At least Ben isn't collecting social security while throwing picks.

Unknown said...

Dude..did you take English as a second language in high school? I got a friggin headache adding the missing nouns, verbs and adjectives, not to mention your syntax. Have you ever heard of a run-on sentence? I understand your a christmas ape, but for the love of god..take a class on grammar before you write another column ok? The friggin Ravens won a fucking superbowl with an idiot as qb..whats your point?

Christmas Ape said...

Dusty -

A few quick edits:

1.)an ellipsis is not the same as a comma.

2.)"I understand YOU'RE a Christmas Ape."

3.)Super Bowl is two words.

Thanks for the advice, pally.