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By Daniel Taylor, For The Miami Student
Huge stats from quarterbacks are the norm in the NFL now. Rule changes have opened up the offense more than ever. But, what Miami University alumnus Ben Roethlisberger has done is incredible.
The two games against the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens have resulted in 862 yards and 12 touchdowns. Wow.
How incredible is the performance? Well, 15 teams have 12 touchdowns or fewer this season.
The Bengals, Lions and Seahawks headline the list; throwing for 9, 11 and 11 touchdowns respectively.
The six touchdown games likely won't become a theme from the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, but that is okay. He has had two awesome weeks and we need to admire the accomplishment.
Big Ben just did something that we will probably never see again.
We have just watched history. In a decade or so we'll be talking about this streak when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton.
Roethlisberger has never been a top-three quarterback. He is not Manning, Brady, Rodgers or Brees. But, that's okay.
He is Ben Roethlisberger, a quarterback that cannot be cloned. He is big and strong and that makes him nearly impossible to bring down.
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He is the guy that plays hurt and dances around in the pocket. He tosses linemen around like they are children; and then proceeds to throw the ball 40 yards down the field to a wide-open Antonio Brown.
Receivers can only be covered for so long, and the ability to keep a play alive allows them to come free more often than not.
He does things Brady, Brees and Manning simply cannot do. They are all great quarterbacks, some of the best ever, but they're not Ben Roethlisberger.
He is so unique. And teaching a quarterback how to do that is impossible. It has to be instinctual. With a defensive tackle trying to sack him, he throws them off. When facing a fast defensive end, he side steps past them.
He is not necessarily supposed to be a big stat guy, and that is what makes this explosion so much more impressive. He is a violent quarterback. Talk to linemen who play him and they dread it. They would much rather face Peyton Manning; he does not move, at all. If you get there he is going down.
Wrap Roethlisberger up with one arm and you're going to be embarrassed.
The NFL hadn't seen a quarterback like Big Ben, the smarts, toughness and pure ability was unmatched. And he dominated the Mid-American Conference before he took his talents to the NFL.
Andrew Luck and Blake Bortles are two signal callers who are often compared with Big Ben. Bortles may grow into it, but he has to earn his stripes first. Luck, however, is about as close of a comparison. He wants to hurt guys, have you seen the hit he can lay after throwing an interception?
Success as an NFL quarterback is difficult. The running quarterback was viewed as the future of the position just a few years ago. But, I would take a Ben Roethlisberger-type over a Colin Kaepernick any day.
Big Ben was brought back to earth Sunday in a losing effort against the New York Jets. The defense was able to force Roethlisberger into two interceptions, bringing his total to a paltry five on the season. It is only his third game with a quarterback rating fewer than 100 this season. All three games have resulted in a loss for the Steelers.
The game Sunday spoiled the streak, but Roethlisberger is still well on his way to a career-best season. He is pacing towards a season north of 40 touchdowns. His career best is 32 in 2007.
Roethlisberger is also in pursuit of a career best in yards. If he keeps his current pace, he will be near the 5,000 yard mark, a feat only accomplished by five quarterbacks: Dan Marino, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford.
Big Ben is a special player, and it all started in Oxford.