I have pointed out several times this season how good Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is on third downs and today we will look at how he has done through the first three games using play action.
Late last season it was pointed out by STATS just how good Roethlisberger was using play action and he is off to another good start in 2012 as well. Heading into the Sunday game against the Philadelphia Eagles the Steelers quarterback is 15-of-20 for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 play action drop backs. He has been sacked just once and hasn\’t thrown an interception. These numbers equate to an old school passer rating of 126.3. I should also note that one of those incomplete passes was a drop by tight end Heath Miller early on in the game against the Oakland Raiders after initially being ruled a catch. I am sure you all remember that play.
The Steelers only used play action 3 times in the opener against the Denver Broncos and 6 times in total against the New York Jets. In their most recent game against the Raiders it was used a season-high 12 times.
How much will the Steelers offense use it Sunday against the Eagles? That is hard to say, but one thing that stuck out to me in watching the Eagles win over the New York Giants is that the safeties, particularly Kurt Coleman, bit a few times on play action and it resulted in some big plays. The Eagles like to play press man coverage quite a bit with their cornerbacks on the outside, so don\’t be surprised if Roethlisberger tries to take advantage of this in the game.
Any semblance of a better running game against the Eagles will certainly make play action that more effective, but the use of it has been good already this season even with the running game being nonexistent.
Keep your eye out for this on Sunday.