During his weekly session with local media on Wednesday, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was asked about facing a player this coming Sunday that he’s never played against in Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Instead of asking him about Suh, the beat writers should have jumped at the chance to ask the Steelers signal caller about cornerback Rashean Mathis, as Roethlisberger surely knows all about facing him.
Mathis has been Roethlisberger’s kryptonite since he came into the league as he has intercepted the Steelers quarterback five times when he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Two of those five picks came in a 2008 Jaguars playoff win and if that’s not bad enough, Mathis returned two of those five interceptions for touchdowns, including one in the postseason victory.
While the Pittsburgh media missed the opportunity to ask Roethlisberger about Mathis, the Detroit media made sure not to during his Wednesday conference call with them.
“He is a good cornerback,” Roethlisberger said of Mathis. “I have a lot of respect for that guy and he plays at a high level. I respect him and I know what he is bringing to the table.”
As for Mathis, who has 32 career interception including the playoffs, he has mutual respect for Roethlisberger.
“Ben is a great quarterback,” Mathis said. “He has been for a lot of years. It’s just being in the right place at the right time. It just happened that way. I definitely wouldn’t say I have his number. I’m sure it could easily be the other way.”
While Mathis has yet to record an interception this season, he has only allowed 26 receptions and two touchdowns in the 50 times he’s been targeted. In the Lions win this past Sunday over the Chicago Bears, however, he did give up five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown to wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Odds are this Sunday that Mathis will be covering Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who currently leads the league in receptions with 67, so Roethlisberger will indeed be forced to throw at his kryptonite several times in this game.
Mathis probably doesn’t have to worry about Roethlisberger taking off and running Sunday, but that didn’t stop him from praising the quarterback’s elusiveness in the pocket just the same.
“He’s the non-mobilest mobilest quarterback I ever seen,” Mathis said.
Lions CB Rashean Mathis with a great description of Roethlisberger: "Big Ben, he’s the non-mobilest mobilest quarterback I ever seen."
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) November 14, 2013
Hopefully Roethlisberger doesn’t need to show any of that non-mobility Sunday while attempting to tackle Mathis during a return of an intercepted pass.