Roethlisberger activates his Flight response in win over Detroit

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

It wasn't that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger gained many yards rushing (12 on six carries with a long of 10), it's that he didn't stay in the pocket and expose himself to multiple sacks.

The "Fight or Flight" instinct is embedded in the heads of everyone. When sensing danger, a person makes a decision that's based on genetic make-up, past experience and surrounding stimuli.

Stay and battle whatever is causing danger, or run like mad to safety.

The Fight side is said to be courageous, if not stupid. The Flight side, smarter if not weak.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger deserves plenty of of the credit for the Steelers' thrilling 37-27 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 11. Some credit should also be given to a Steelers offensive line that provided enough protection to empower Roethlisberger to complete 64.4 percent of his passes (29-for-45) for 367 yards and four touchdowns.

A big part of both of those numbers is Roethlisberger listened to his Flight a little more often than his Fight.

The one sack he took against a tough Lions' pass rush came on one of the few plays in which the Lions covered well down the field. Sure, label it a protection breakdown; there were many. Instead of following the philosophy he usually has through his sack-riddled career, he held onto the ball only in situations where he was able to complete a pass - including a 13-yard flip to running back Jonathan Dwyer in which he defined finding a gain in what would have been a loss for any other quarterback in the league.

If he was pressured, he took off. He doubled his previous season high with six rush attempts, including a flip from Flight to Fight on a 10-yard run on third and long. He lowered his shoulder, looking to pick up first down yardage. He failed in doing that, but showed he still has that added dimension of gamesmanship.

He can throw passes for 13-yard gains when there are defenders at his feet and hanging on his hip. He can tuck it and take what the defense is giving him. He can throw the ball quickly, as he did with normal range throws to Antonio Brown, who proceeded to take them both to the house.

The deepest pass he threw in the air was the easiest throw he made all day - a 20-yard touchdown strike to Jerricho Cotchery in which the defense bit on a pump-fake to Brown.

Instead of sitting in the pocket, looking to fight any and all comers, in the few instances in which his receivers weren't open, he acted like a CEO - instead of taking a loss, he took a gain, however he could. He did not force a throw, and he didn't take multiple sacks.

It shouldn't be considered a coincidence he got sacked once and didn't turn the ball over. He didn't give the Lions' aggressive defense a chance to exploit Roethlisberger's risky decisions. It's valid to extend some credit to the offensive line, but the left side in particular was overwhelmed plenty of times, and even as Ndamukong Suh sat often in the game, The Lions got pressure.

Roethlisberger just didn't try to fight it. And he turned in what was perhaps his best all-around performance of the season.

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