Steelers Vs. Ravens: Time to Turn Big Ben Loose With More No Huddle?

Steeler Nation has discussed ad nauseum the topic of Ben Roethlisberger being trusted to run the no huddle offense more frequently. And not just this year either. The conversation started a few years ago really, and it stemmed largely from the increased opportunities he seemed to be getting from Bruce Arians during training camp. We haven't seen much of the no huddle from Pittsbugh's offense though. In fact, I'd be curious to know exactly how many snaps and/or drives the Steelers have run from the no huddle, not including two-minute drill situations.

Regardless of why has largely shied away it, I think this weekend's Divisional Round game against the Ravens might be the perfect opportunity to turn Big Ben loose and trust him with several series in the no huddle. For starters, Roethlisberger has really elevated his game from a decision-making standpoint this season. He's thrown 158 consecutive passes without an interception, the longest such streak by a Steelers' QB since Kordell Stewart threw 159 in 2001 without being picked off. That's partly a product of playing against some weak pass defenses down the stretch, but it's also a testament to the extra work he's done in the film room. As Mike Tomlin said, Ben's enjoying the 'monotony' of the job more this year. And it's shown.

Secondly, going to the no huddle would also make it tougher for Greg Matison, Baltimore's defensive coordinator, to dial up as many confusing blitz packages throughout the game. I'd actually contend that the Steelers' offensive line played pretty darn well against the Ravens last game, especially after the first quarter. That said, the Steelers had no answer for Terrell Suggs all night long. And Suggs wasn't just abusing Jonathan Scott. He was being moved around quite a bit by Mattison, something that would be harder to do if the Steelers went to the no huddle.

Thirdly, putting Ben in the no huddle would give him extra time to try to sniff out what Baltimore's trying to do on any given play at the line of scrimmage. Much like what Peyton Manning does when he goes to the line, points to this or that guy on the defense, barks orders to his offensive linemen and playmakers, etc. Big Ben is no Peyton Manning, but I believe he's far enough along in his maturation as a quarterback to correctly diagnose what looks he and the offense are about to see from the Ravens defense. With this extra time, Roethlisberger might be able to audible out of dangerous situations and into favorable matchups - like say, a hot read to Mike Wallace, or a run to Rashard Mendenhall that might go for a big gain.

What do you all think? Agree? Disagree? Wrong situation to experiment? Or is this the perfect time to mix things up given the 'win or go home' nature of the NFL Playoffs?

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