Since Ben Roethlisberger entered the NFL in 2004, his ability to escape blitzing defenders has a lot to do with either his spacial awareness, quick thinking and/or his iconic size as a quarterback. Many highlights of his over the years involve him dealing with pressure from opposing defenses and keeping drives alive despite free defenders that get a shot at him. Whether it's making a critical completion on third down against the Jaguars while a defensive lineman holds his arm, rolling away from the pressure to make an on-the-run touchdown pass to Antonio Brown or escaping the grasp of Terrell Suggs to avoid a sack and keep a drive alive that would later deliver a game-winning touchdown, even his opponents know just how good Ben when the heat is on.
Pro Football Focus adds to Ben's legend as a quarterback with one of their recent statistics they posted about on their Twitter account:
Most accurate QBs vs. blitz the last 3 seasons (Min. 200 att) 1. Roethlisberger: 67.9% 2. Ryan: 67.2% 3. Brees: 66.9% pic.twitter.com/cFlOuf0aVQ— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 29, 2015
Ben Roethlisberger has the highest completion percentage of any quarterback in the NFL against the blitz. Part of that might be in credit also to Le'Veon Bell's ability to get open and in sight of Roethlisberger right as a blitz starts to get through the offensive line, however that should not jade anyone from thinking that the bulk of merit belongs to the two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback.
Roethlisberger's weaknesses in the past seem to stem from mistakes in his efforts to dissect a defense before the snap, reading to poor decisions and not being able to find the holes in the schemes he faces. Though it's also worthy of note that his offensive line was more of a liability than it was an asset for years, Roethlisberger often falls behind the likes of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning because in their performances they seem to have a better idea of what they face.
However what none of those quarterbacks, with maybe the exception of Rodgers, provide to their team that Ben does is his play making ability while dealing with defenders in his backfield. In recent seasons Roethlisberger has been turning his pre-snap weaknesses into strengths, as seen with his jump in stats this season with the highest yardage total of his career.
What the Steelers need is for Roethlisberger to be the maestro leading what may be the greatest symphony of offensive skill players the Steelers have had in his era, and part of that will be dealing with the blitz. Last season especially we all saw him working against the blitz week after week and his successes have landed him atop the statistic shown above, but if he continues to ascend there may be plenty of other lists Roethlisberger might also be seen rising on.