Steelers vs Eagles Film Review: Ben Roethlisberger Mistakes

In the first two preseason games, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was not asked to carry out many difficult throws, but he was proficient. In his four drives, he completed nine of 13 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns while avoiding sacks. The offense scored 17 points on those four drives.

Against the Philadelphia Eagles during the Steelers’ third preseason game, the purported ‘dress rehearsal’ for the regular season, the 11th-year pro struggled, particularly earlier in the game, to hit his receivers accurately and consistently.

As a result, he completed 15 of 24 passes for 157 yards, just a 6.5 yards per attempt average, throwing one interception, one touchdown on his last play, and took two sacks, on one of which he fumbled.

The only true drop on the night came from running back Le’Veon Bell. In other words, the majority of the struggles in the passing game came from the quarterback position, particularly earlier in the game until Roethlisberger started leaning on Antonio Brown. Here are a few examples of his issues on the night.

On the Steelers’ second drive, the Steelers had just begun to drive down the field. They neared the 40-yard line with a second and seven play following a three-yard carry when Roethlisberger threw behind Markus Wheaton as he broke his route to the inside of the field.

The quarterback’s body language after the fact makes it clear whose mistake it was. On third and seven, Roethlisberger had Wheaton beating his man in one-on-one coverage down the right sideline, but the quarterback couldn’t place the ball properly, instead landing it a few yards out of bounds.

About a third of the way into the second quarter, the Steelers had just crossed into Eagles territory when pressure up the middle from Ramon Foster forced Roethlisberger to flee the pocket. As protection broke down, he went on the move, scrambling toward the line of scrimmage and presumably trying to lob a ball into empty space for a throwaway. He misplaced his trajectory and allowed the ball to be intercepted.

A few plays later, Troy Polamalu helped saved Roethlisberger when he got one back from Nick Foles, giving the Steelers the ball at the 31-yard line. Brown got tied up with a defender on first down, resulting in an incompletion. A short gain made it third and long.

Once again, Roethlisberger was under pressure, in one of the few instances of Marcus Gilbert getting beat in pass protection. He leaped over the rusher and scrambled to open space as Brown broke off his route to give his quarterback an outlet. Roethlisberger took that outlet, but once again he could not place the ball. He left it short and behind Brown, and the defender was able to easily bat down the ball.

Make no mistake, there were problems all over the field for the Steelers, on both sides of the ball. Roethlisberger also made several plays on his own, as he regularly does, such as the touchdown pass to his tight end. But there’s no question that Roethlisberger was part of the problem against the Eagles.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

    “He leaped over the rusher….” Pretty funny stuff!

  • dkoy85

    Every one of them pressure was coming.

  • richard

    I have one question , why does Wheaton break to the inside right into triple coverage?

  • Lil Smitty

    Football is a team sport. That game was a team failure.

  • Fr33th1nk3r

    People read WAYYYY too much into that game. They did a lot of experimenting in that game. It was clear that they were taking a closer look at Marcus Wheaton since most of the throws went to him.
    it was clear that Lebeau was experimenting a bit on defense. We ran out of the 2-5-4 almost exclusively.

    Even Tomlin has said as much– they did NOT scheme at all for that game and it was more about putting certain people or units in a bad position to see how they respond.

    Also, keep in mind, the Eagles were 0-2 in the preseason up to that point and were playing at home, balls to the wall.

  • I think Ben screwed up on purpose. Pulled one of those Terry Bradshaw deals were people are going to think he’s starting to suck and then all of the sudden, when he plays in a game that actually means something, he plays QB like he can actually play QB. I mean, c’mon. He’s never looked that crappy. Watch him come out on opening day and really kick some ass! HERE WE GO!

  • charles

    The Eagles were whipping our O line. I am sure that Munchak took note. Still, that will happen in miniature anytime in a game and Ben seemed a little unprepared for the Eagle’s intensity. That is what preseason presumably was about: to work these kinks out. Which he seemed to have a grip on on that final pass to Heath.

  • Brendon Glad

    Here is my analysis: Play 1) Beachum overpowered…man-in-face…emergency check-down into defended player. 2)Beachum and Foster choose to double-team and leave free rusher clean on RB…who misses the block. If I can get in Ben’s head, and think TWO guys have that rusher…then he’s in my face…It probably would affect the throw. Surprise pressure is worse than expected pressure. 3) and 4)…well we have been spoiled by the fact that Ben usually dominates throws where the pocket breaks down and he escapes…and he didn’t dominate on these particular gifs….but good gosh, on #3, Foster, it would have been nice if he could have at LEAST slowed him a little so he doesn’t look like Lawrence Taylor bearing down…and 4) There’s Gilbert getting bull-rushed to his back…and we can take a small victory that it wasn’t into Pouncey’s, DeCastro’s, or Ben’s knee. I ain’t worried about Ben one bit….other than his health.

  • Brendon Glad

    We all believe munchak to be a good o-line coach. And I, for one, was never sold on any of the retreads since Russ Grimm at O-line coach. But now in 2014, that means no more excuses for the OL…can’t pin it on the coach anymore, most likely. Can’t pin it on the QB, because Haley has implemented a way quicker average pocket-time for Ben…so I do NOT want to see 4 plays like I saw right there. Keep this in mind, everyone, if ur team throws it 30 times, and each OL holds his own on 28-30 but gets beaten badly twice apiece….then it might mean TEN sacks….their job is to be PERFECT in pass protection. And just because Ben is a genius escape-artist, does not mean we should lose sight of the fact that 2 bad-beats out of 30 is UNACCEPTABLE. And some of those dudes get beaten badly 5-7 times out of 30 pass-pros.

  • charles

    Both of your comments suggest the O line getting WHIPPED. I wonder what Munch thinks of the Oline that he got handed and what if any influence he had in the draft choices as well as who we keep on the 53 and PS.

  • Brendon Glad

    I wonder that too….because other than the last 7-8 games of last season, I get tired of hearing that “Ben holds the ball too long”…as an excuse for the sack totals. Because I watch the games, and FAR too many times do I see Ben have VIOLENT pressure coming easy and clean….so while I don’t write it down and document it, I would say that for every sack that Ben takes by deliberately holding the ball to give his WR’s xtra time…he avoids about 3…when he avoids a sure sack, only to escape and end the play with a pass attempt instead of a sack. But back to ur point….I hope so…because the Steelers spend an inordinate level of “draft-pick-attention” on OL. And considering that OL is still widely considered a key weakness of the team….I hope munchak is allowed to provide a fresh voice to that draft-room for as long as he is here. Or molds these “talents” into an effective unit. One that DOESN’T consistently have 4 plays like the ones shown above.