Thursday, November 08, 2007

Big Ben Is the World's Best Game Manager

I didn't realize this until the networks beat me about the head with it all day Tuesday, but Big Ben has 20 touchdowns through eight games. That's more than Tony Romo (19), Carson Palmer (16), Peyton Manning (14), and Brett Favre (13). Roethlisberger is second in the NFL in touchdown passes. Think about that for a sec. I also didn't realize that his previous season high was 18, which he put up last year ... right along with 23 picks.

That's mind-blowing. I mean really, in your wildest dreams, did you ever expect a game manager to put up these kinds of numbers. This must give Trent Dilfer all kinds of hope. Also, Big Ben's been sacked 19 times, with is fifth-highest in the league, but I've just come to accept that's part of the deal. Sure, some of that is on the offensive line, but Ben's going to hold onto the ball.

I wonder if he would even be comfortable in the pocket with gobs of time. Honestly, do you think he'd take a five-step drop and just scan the field all Brady/Manning-like looking for targets? Maybe, but I don't see it happening. Of course, I think Bill Belichick, just like Karl Rove, used Ben's strength against him in previous Pats-Steelers matchups. I remember reading that New England wanted to keep Roethlisberger in the pocket, and save that 2004 regular-season ass-beating, it's worked.

Whatever, Ben's having his best season. No shit, right? But here's the thing: I wonder if he would've been all born-again QB if not for the motorcycle accident. Sure, he could've put up these numbers last season if he wasn't out head-butting concrete in the summer of '06, but he could also look like a 6'5" Jerome Bettis right now too.

Word on the street is that Ben recommitted himself, blah blah blah, after last season, and who knows if that would've happened if he never was injured.

Post Game Heroes has gone through a lot of trouble to bring you the stills from Monday night's beatdown.

Ripping off Randy "Muscles" Steele's idea (love that nickname, by the way), my QOTD: after living in DC for four years, you kinda get the feel for what's a scandal and what isn't. The NFL ain't Washington politics, but whenever billions of dollars are involved, you can bet your ass there's always something fishy going on somewhere. In the scheme of things, PatriotGate wasn't a big deal, but Goodell destroying the evidence and declaring the case closed qualifies as fishy, I think.

But unlike, say, politics, sports is completely different. Goodell is protecting his interest at no real risk to the fans. No one's dying, or won't be able to feed their kids because the NFL threw a box of videos in the incinerator. As a general matter, though, does this bother people?

Wilbon and Kornheiser were debating whether this season will be asterisked, as Don Shula (who obviously doesn't have a horse in this race) suggested, if the Pats go 19-0. Frankly, other than making New England fans mad, I haven't given much thought to the whole 'scandal.' It was curious at the time, and even curiouser that the media just let it go -- particularly PFT (too busy lambasting Tiki for his vocabulary and Emmitt for his lack of one, I suspect).

But hey, Woodward and Bernstein ain't walkin' through that door, and there's a reason: I don't think anybody really cares. Or at least cares enough to do anything about it. Sadly, I'm kinda fine with that.

Okay, enough with the introspection/finding myself; how do the Steelers beat the bottom-of-the-barrel-beaters Cleveland Browns? I watched the first half of the SEA-CLE game yesterday and noticed the Seahawks basically rushed four guys all day. Derek Anderson wasn't sacked, and he ended up 29 of 48 for 364 yards. I think Richard LeBeau could employ a similar game plan to the one we saw against Seattle, but he could also go bonkers. Anderson was inaccurate when pressured -- even just a little -- so that's a case for the latter, particularly if the Browns are suddenly the world's best pass-blocking team. Basically, I have no idea. That's what I'm saying.