NFL Week 8: Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger Continue Underrated QB Rivalry
Their styles are so different, but their stories are so similar.
Brady is a statuesque pocket passer in every sense of the term.
He is supported by a stellar offensive line that has allowed an average of 23.6 sacks per season since 2004. Great blocking has allowed him to do what he does best: Complete surgically precise throws that few other QBs can make.
When Brady is pressured, he can make some questionable throws.
On the other hand, Roethlisberger is a rough-and-tumble scrambler that makes defenses pay after the play breaks down.
He’s been sacked an average of 39 times per season, and he’s already been taken down 20 times in 2011. Either through learned experience or natural instinct, Roethlisberger has always had a knack for avoiding tacklers while keeping his eyes downfield.
How many times have you seen him complete a long pass to Heath Miller or Hines Ward 10 seconds into a play?
That’s where the differences end and the similarities begin.
They are the only two active quarterbacks that have won multiple Super Bowls with their teams.
They both started their careers by filling in for injured veterans (Drew Bledsoe and Tommy Maddox).
Brady and the Pats won their first Super Bowl the year he replaced the injured Bledsoe.
The Steelers lost the game that Roethlisberger filled in for Maddox, but they didn't lose again that season until the AFC Championship game against, who else, the Patriots. Pittsburgh went on to win the Super Bowl the next year.
Once those two were behind center, their teams started piling up the wins. Since 2001, the Patriots and the Steelers are ranked first and third in team wins, respectively.
Among QBs with 50 or more starts since 2001, they both rank in the Top six in QB rating.
Finally, both have had the benefit of playing with two of the top defenses in the NFL for most of their careers.
All the stats point to two of the best QBs in the game today.
But who is the best QB when the Steelers and Patriots play each other?
According to ESPN’s Stats & Info Blog, Brady has performed better against Pittsburgh than any other QB since 2001.
Who will have the better game?
Roethlisberger’s numbers against the Pats aren’t too shabby either. Fortunately, he will face a Pats passing defense that ranks dead last in the league.
The most interesting matchup of the game has to be New England’s top-ranked pass offense vs. Pittsburgh's top-ranked pass defense.
Still, history tells us that Brady should have a big game.
Will Roethlisberger and his speedy receiver Mike Wallace (20.3 yards per catch) be able to keep up with the Pats’ passing game?
My inclination is that they won't, but the game should make for an entertaining shootout.
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