Patriots

Patriots look to contain Roethlisberger

572070.jpg

Patriots look to contain Roethlisberger

FOXBORO The goal for dealing with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is pretty cut and dry.

Hit him hard.

A lot.

But Roethlisberger, all 6-foot-5, 241 pounds of him, is no easy take-down.

His size, strength and ability to throw on the road is challenging enough.

When you toss in the potential roughing the passer call, which seems to be happening more often these days throughout the NFL, containing a quarterback like Roethlisberger has the potential to put the most quarterback-hungry defender in a bit of a quandary.

"Sometimes it is; it's hard," said Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. "It's definitely hard, especially when you have a bigger quarterback. You have these big quarterbacks and they're not calling the play dead until they're on the ground sometimes."

Patriots defensive lineman Shaun Ellis acknowledges that the potential for roughing the passer is always present, regardless of how big a quarterback may be.

But, he added, it becomes a much larger issue when facing a quarterback like Roethlisberger.

"Ben is a big guy in the pocket," Ellis said. "He's elusive in the pocket -- not fast, but he's deceptive; he can get away from a lot of things."

While this is true, Roethlisberger has also taken his share of hits as well.

In fact, he has been sacked 20 times this season.

Only St. Louis' Sam Bradford and Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears have been sacked more than Roethlisberger this season.

Even with teams seemingly finding ways to put him on the ground, the Patriots are wise enough to know that he's still a dangerous threat, even when a defender seemingly has him wrapped up.

"You watch film and there are a lot of guys falling off him," Wilfork said. "There are a lot of guys that think they have him, but they don't have him, where at the last minute he flicks the ball. This is the only guy that you have him wrapped up and he can flick the ball 30 yards down the field."

"That's probably the worst thing about being on defense against them; when he scrambles around and start breaking tackles," said Pats cornerback Devin McCourty.

That's when Roethlisberger has the ability to inflict the most damage on a defense.

"With him, you have to get him to the ground and keep him there," McCourty said. "When you get him there, you don't worry about anything except for trying to get him down and holding on to him. He does it so easily, just swims people by with one hand. You can't worry about penalties and stuff like that. You just have to get him down."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: 'Incomprehensible' to expect same greatness from Patriots?

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: 'Incomprehensible' to expect same greatness from Patriots?

0:43 - Tom Curran, Kayce Smith, and Michael Holley talk about Bill Belichick saying it’s “incomprehensible” that people expect the Patriots to be on the same level as last year at this point in the season.

11:55 - Tom Giles, Kayce Smith, and Michael Holley discuss J.R. Smith’s comments about the Celtics not being a threat to the Cavaliers.

15:38 - Abby Chin, Chris Mannix, and A. Sherrod Blakely join BST from Cleveland to talk about Marcus Smart and the Celtics failing to agree to a contract extension, making him a restricted free agent in July. They also preview Tuesday’s Celtics-Cavaliers season opener.

19:25 - Reports say Alex Cora is the frontrunner for the Red Sox managerial position, but Brad Ausmus interviewed for the position on Monday. Who is the right man for the job? Tom Giles and Michael Holley discuss.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans end 11-game skid to Colts with 36-22 win

titans_marcus_mariota_101617.jpg

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans end 11-game skid to Colts with 36-22 win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Marcus Mariota threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Taywan Taylor with 5:29 left , and the Tennessee Titans beat the Indianapolis Colts 36-22 on Monday night to snap an 11-game skid tied for the NFL's longest active losing streak against one team.

Mariota didn't move around much on a cool night after missing a game with a strained left hamstring, but still managed to throw for a season-high 306 yards. He completed each of his three passes on the drive that ended with Taylor's tiebreaking score.

The Titans (3-3) also snapped a two-game skid with the win.

Jacoby Brissett tried to rally the Colts (2-4) to a second straight overtime. But Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard forced Brissett out of bounds shy of the first down marker on fourth-and-inches with 2:19 left. Coach Chuck Pagano lost his challenge.

Derrick Henry then clinched the win for Tennessee with a 72-yard TD run with 47 seconds left. Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, finished with a career-high 131 yards on 19 carries. DeMarco Murray also scored.

The Titans looked like the NFL's worst scoring defense in the first half instead of Indianapolis, with Brissett directing the Colts to a 13-9 halftime lead. John Simon then intercepted Mariota's first pass of the third quarter and returned it 26 yards for a TD.

But the Titans forced the Colts to go three-and-out on three of their first four drives of the second half, and Avery Williamson stripped tight end Jack Doyle of the ball after a catch.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE