Roethlisberger Excellent During The Preseason When Using Play-Action

It’s been a little while since I have posted about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and just how great he is when he uses play-action. Prior to the Saturday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Roethlisberger talked about play-action when he was asked about the running game and if the offense needs to depend on it a lot in 2013 in order to be successful.

“We always want to be able to run the ball,” said Roethlisberger. “It makes you more balanced and helps open up the pass and the play-action pass. So, it’s a big key for us.”

In the first two preseason games, the Steelers offense really didn’t game plan and Roethlisberger only played a total of 43 snaps of which 21 were passing plays. Against the Chiefs, however, the offense did have some small semblance of a game plan and that included a pretty good use of play-action.

In total, Roethlisberger dropped back to pass 22 times against the Chiefs Saturday night, and on seven of those drop backs he used play-action. Those seven plays resulted in him completing six of seven passes for 131 yards. One of those completions, a 25-yard pass to wide receiver to Antonio Brown, was nullified by a bogus chop block penalty on running back Jonathan Dwyer, while the only incompletion was a drop by tight end David Paulson. That’s way above the standard.

For the entire preseason, Roethlisberger was 9-of-11 passing for 170 yards if you count the negated pass to Brown. His only other incompletion was the batted down screen pass to Brown in the preseason opener against the New York Giants. In addition, five of his completed play-action passes during the preseason resulted in explosive plays of 20 yards or more. Oh, and he was also never sacked on any of those drop backs.

It is very cliché to say the run sets up the pass, and I am not even going to try to go down that path in this post. I do believe in the case of Roethlisberger; however, that a good running game sets up the play-action pass, and I also believe that the Steelers quarterback will absolutely kill defenses this year if the offense can get itself into more than their fair share of second downs with five or fewer yards to go.

Roethlisberger is not just a good play-action quarterback; he’s one of the best in the league, and a good running game in 2013 will only make him better.

Watch the pocket presence on play-action play below.

Steelers Chiefs Roethlisberger play-action

  • steeltown

    Five of the play action passes went for 20yds or more and it should’ve been six when you add the BS chop block?….Awesome

    Its very evident that Ben and the Offense in general are stellar when we have a good running game, dating back to last year the few games where we had a 100yd rusher we won with authority

    On a side note: The above play looks like one of those plays were Beachum came in as a TE and provided extra blocking, this is a great idea in my opinion

  • StrengthOfVictory

    So much for dink and dunk. Ben is getting his wish for more intermediate and down-field passing (and keep in mind, this is only the vanilla preseason). And good for him, because Ben is money hitting guys on slants, posts, seams, and the ever-popular “make something happen while I scramble!” Ben being Ben is how the Steelers win games.

  • chris ward

    Some of the plays Roethlisberger make are just amazing. He has a knack for making plays. Displayed great pocket presence and footwork through out the game.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    It doesn’t matter to me if the running game sets up play action passes or if you use play action passes to slow down LBs to ultimately establish the run game. For the Steelers, both need to work together.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Interesting note from Pro Football Focus:

    Pittsburgh Steelers: Over the course of the 2012 season, Ben Roethlisberger completed just 11 passes when the ball was in the air for 20 or more yards, 27 QBs had more. In just 38 drop-backs this preseason, Roethlisberger has already completed five deep passes to tie him for the league lead.