Film Room: Roethlisberger And Brown Show Special Chemistry To Beat Bengals

We haven’t done a lot of film room this week because frankly, that focus has barely been the talking point. So let’s change that today. I am constantly amazed by the chemistry and trust Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown share. Despite not practicing all week, that was still on display Monday night against the Bengals. One play really stuck out, a true YOLO ball from Big Ben. In an incredibly critical moment.

This ball is designed to get out of Ben’s hand quickly. The right tackle is cut blocking the end on a bubble screen to the field and a slant/flat to the boundary. Roethlisberger, based on what he sees pre-snap is already locked onto hitting Brown on the slant. Ideally, the linebacker is supposed to expand on the flat and once Brown clears him into the next window, Roethlisberger has an easy pitch and catch.

But the LB and corner pass off each player and the linebacker keeps inside leverage, not letting Brown work into that next window. Roethlisberger holds onto the football to try and wait for Brown to clear him. Time that he simply doesn’t have. The rush is on.

There’s pressure everywhere. The backside end now free after fighting off the cut block and some frontside pressure from the line that didn’t expect to block nearly this long (and trying to pick up a T/E stunt).

In an instant, at the very last moment, Brown and Ben get on the same page. There isn’t time to try and cross the linebacker. As Roethlisberger throws the ball, a moment before getting smacked, Brown chops down and sits on the linebacker’s outside hip, converting a slant to what is essentially a curl. He works back to the ball, makes the catch, and picks up 15.

This was 2nd and 5 with the Steelers backed up and down ten in the fourth quarter. If this pass is incomplete or worse, intercepted because of miscommunication, this game is probably over. Even a Steelers punt would give the Bengals great field position and the chance to extend the lead all the more.

These plays just shouldn’t happen. And the funny thing is that it pretty much already did. The final drive to beat the Colts was the same call. A slant/flat where Ben was waiting for Brown to get clear. And Brown, working the scramble drill, ran away from his defender to get in Roethlisberger’s vision, make the catch, and pick up 32 critical yards.

They make the very difficult seem routine. Seeing the same thing at the same time and reacting the same way. That’s special. Don’t take it for granted.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Off topic, I apologize I’m not trying to hijack the post. At the risk of sounding ignorant, where was our fabulous full back Rosie Nix during this game? He was such a big part of the first meeting I found myself asking where Rosie Nix was at all game long

  • LHW

    And all of that happens in mere seconds; a QB’s mind works at warp speed. And he just has to throw the ball, somebody has to catch it!

  • Sam Clonch

    Lot of us been wondering that for most of the season. He’s a monster, and ground game seems to really perk up when he’s in there. A healthy Mcdonald would help as well. Not sure if I should be excited or worried to see a practice report.

  • falconsaftey43


  • falconsaftey43

    He hasn’t been used much the last 4 games. Turning more to the passing game. Also makes a big difference never holding the lead in this game. Last time they were never worse than tied.

  • falconsaftey43

    not sure how much this tells (depot has numbers for ypc with Nix on the field vs without).

    Bell’s yards, ypc, Nix’s snaps
    32, 3.2, 10
    87, 3.2, 11
    61, 4.1, 4
    144, 4.1, 13
    47, 3.1, 13
    179, 5.6, 17
    134, 3.8, 22
    76, 3.0, 18
    80, 3.1, 9
    46, 3.8, 5
    95, 4.8, 5
    76, 4.2, 5

  • Steve

    In the last Gif, AB has 4 defenders on him and the Colts still cant stop the reception – Greatness.

  • razaard2

    Refs blew illegal man downfield on the second gif. Offense needs to be in sync when Ben gets out of those tunnel screens, we see Pouncey running routes too often