Takes Grand Plan to Keep QB Clean

It takes more than holding blocks and getting rid of the ball. Mike Prisuta examines how the Steelers kept Ben clean for the first time in years, along with other notes from the win.

* The QB's gotta get rid of the ball to stay clean, and the offensive line also has to do its part. But more than that went into Ben Roethlisberger remaining upright on Sunday.

"I also thought we did a nice job changing some things up and assisting (the offensive line)," coach Mike Tomlin allowed on Monday. "Chips and so forth, the screen game assisted in that, some of the draws we executed.

"I thought it was just a good body of work by all parties involved. Not taking anything away, of course, from the offensive line, but I just thought it was a good group effort in regards to that."

It was also the latest exhibit in the Steelers continuing to state their case that the offense had to change. As it does we're continuing to get a more complete picture of what it'll look like as a finished product.

Points were still left on the field in Sunday's 16-14 win over Philadelphia, but that was mostly attributable to dropped passes, a presumed aberration.

When Ben stays upright and they catch the ball, watch out.

* Tomlin didn't mention checkdowns as a factor in Roethlisberger's first sack-free game since 2010, but they clearly were.

The 13-yard touchdown lateral to Rashard Mendenhall resulted, Roethlisberger said, from his resorting to a checkdown after someone had run the wrong route.

That was a first-and-10 from the Eagles' 13-yard line with 5:01 left in the second quarter.

In years past, Roethlisberger might have tried to extend the play in such a situation, and who knows what might have happened then?

This time, he simply tried to salvage something from a play gone wrong and it wound up changing the scoreboard.

* That pass/lateral touchdown was the latest exhibit in the stating of the case that you can't get the ball to Mendenhall in the flat too often.

* One of the most revealing plays of the game occurred on Philadelphia's second snap of the second half. Michael Vick escaped around left end and Lawrence Timmons flew past a pursuing James Harrison before eventually tracking Vick down after a gain of five.

That's the stuff Tomlin was no doubt referencing on Monday when he described Timmons as "a uniquely talented guy."

When Timmons applies his unique physical skill set with the relentlessness he unleashed against Philadelphia, and when he blitzes as often as he did against the Eagles, the Steelers can survive not having Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley/James Harrison.

When Timmons is approaching his work with something less, the Steelers can't beat Oakland.

* The theory prior to the game was that the returns of Harrison and Polamalu might settle the rest of the defense down and allow everyone else to stop trying to do too much and just play.

Despite Polamalu's early exit, Harrison's appearance turned the trick.

"His presence alone was a big factor today in the game,' safety Ryan Clark had said on Sunday.

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