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Big Ben Had 'Sixth Sense' vs. Ravens' Pass Rush

Posted Nov 29, 2013

The Ravens were held without a sack for the first time all season against quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Terrell Suggs knows what it takes to bring down Ben Roethlisberger.

No player in the NFL has sacked Roethlisberger more than the Ravens outside linebacker, but even Suggs couldn’t find a way to get to the quarterback in Thursday’s 22-20 victory over the Steelers.

Roethlisberger neutralized the Ravens’ pass rush, which was held without a sack for the first time this season.

“He had that sixth sense,” Suggs said about the quarterback. “He knew when we were there. He knew when we were close.”

Roethlisberger is known for his ability to move around the pocket to extend plays, and that’s exactly what he did against the Ravens. On several occasions, he stepped up in the pocket to avoid pressure around the edges, and then found open receivers down the field.

“The gameplan was to get to him,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We wanted to get to him. Early in the game, he was stepping up and making too many plays stepping up inside, so we got pushed away from him a little bit. He does such a great job moving around.”

Roethlisberger is at his best when plays break down and he is on the move, and he showed that in the second half Thursday. After getting shut out through the first two quarters, Roethlisberger led the Steelers on three second-half scoring drives to nearly mount a comeback.

Roethlisberger finished the day 28-of-44 passing for 257 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown of the night came on a play where the Ravens nearly got to him in the backfield. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata broke through the line to push Roethlisberger on the move, but he got rid of the football for a touchdown pass to receiver Emmanuel Sanders just before Ngata drove him to the ground.

Ngata’s near sack was one of just two hits on Roethlisberger all night.

“He’s just hard to keep in the pocket,” Harbaugh said. “He may be the toughest guy to defend in the pocket in football.”

Another challenge in getting pressure on Roethlisberger was that the Ravens had to overcome an injury to one of their best pass rushers. Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil tweaked his ankle in the first half and initially had to leave the game before ultimately returning and playing through the injury.

The sack-less game from Baltimore ended a franchise record of 22 straight games with at least one sack. It also marked the fourth-straight game that Suggs has been held without a sack.

After notching nine sacks through the first 12 games, the veteran pass rusher has hit a dry spell. He has stressed that sacks tend to come in bunches, and at this point of his 11-year career he is more concerned with getting wins to turn around the season.

“At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is wins and losses,” Suggs said. “Do I really want the sacks, especially on him? Yes. But we got the W. And that’s always a plus. As long as we keep winning, I’m just going to stay the course and continue to work.” 

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