The Pittsburgh Steelers have a quarterback that often times struggles against certain players; but what team doesn't. It is no secret that former Cincinnati Bengals safety Reggie Nelson was Ben Roethlisberger's main kyrptonite over the last five seasons.
When Nelson was with the Bengals he intercepted Roethlisberger six times, three of those being in the 2015 season. Let it be known that Nelson has a career 30 interceptions.
You may remember Reggie Nelson for his low hit on Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell in a 2014 week 16 matchup which would give the winner the AFC Division title. Bell suffered a hyperextended knee which prevented him from playing in the AFC Wild Card game against the Baltimore Ravens. Not having Bell in this game proved to be costly as Pittsburgh struggled against their division rival.
Today I want to discuss Nelson's offseason move to the Oakland Raiders, what this means for Steeler fans and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, along with who potentially could be Ben's next kyrptonite.
The following gifs will be from the 2015 NFL season. These plays from Nelson showcase just why Roethlisberger had struggled against the veteran safety, and why he and Kansas City Chiefs rookie CB Marcus Peters led the league in interceptions with 8.
Week 8 matchup; Late 3rd quarter INT
In a week 8 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, safety Reggie Nelson had a great game against veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Nelson intercepted Ben two times in this game. The one interception was registered in the third quarter while the other was in the fourth with two minutes left in the game, down by six points.
The following gif above showcases the third quarter interception due to the solid play on the football by Nelson. He read the eyes of Roethlisberger and made his way up the field to help cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who was beaten by Antonio Brown. If it wasn't for Nelson high pointing the football, Brown could have had an opportunity to make a splash play. Instead Nelson made the interception.
Incredible play by Nelson; Week 14
This play is just incredible by Nelson. He was on the other side of the field and made his way over to help his fellow cornerback. You can see Nelson's great speed and awareness to jump the route and intercept Roethlisberger for the sixth time in his five year career with the Bengals.
When Ben was a young quarterback just trying to succeed under newly acquired head coach Mike Tomlin, Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis was another one of his kyrptonites.
Mathis, who just retired this offseason, intercepted Big Ben five times during his NFL career. His most noteworthy game against Pittsburgh was in the AFC Wild Card game in 2008. He intercepted Roethlisberger two times, returning one for a touchdown.
Now that both are either retired or have moved on to another organization, the question remains; who could potentially be the next athlete that makes Roethlisberger struggle in games? Trust me, it's never a good thing to think about but newly acquired Ravens safety Eric Weddle, who has a career 19 interceptions, could be the next athlete to make Ben struggle.
Eric Weddle does have 19 interceptions in his career thus far. If you think about it without Roethlisberger throwing picks over to Nelson, he would have 24 interceptions instead of 30. Weddle has been a solid safety for the San Diego Chargers for years now. He has the opportunity and skill set to become Ben's krptonite.
Dare I say this.. but the following gif showcases a play that reminded me of Troy Polamalu, the Steelers legendary safety. Even though there will never be another Polamalu, Weddle used his instinct and great athletic ability to find the football and to intercept it just before it hit the ground.
Weddle has highlight reels of great plays throughout his career. In my opinion, being in a new defense, having a veteran leadership mentality, and using the skills he learned throughout his career, Weddle could resurrect his safety play in Baltimore.
It is certainly no secret that without Nelson terrorizing Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh has a great opportunity to win football games in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals. If you are curious, the majority of Nelson's interceptions sealed a victory for the Bengals in the fourth quarter.
Now that Nelson has gone to the Oakland Raiders on a two year deal, the Steelers quarterback should be more comfortable against a top division opponent. That is unless Ravens safety Eric Weddle has something to do with it. We will just have to wait and see but the future is looking bright for Roethlisberger as he is just trying to get his team to win another Vince Lombardi Trophy.