Getting to and taking down Ben Roethlisberger will be key for Ravens defense

Wrapping up Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is one of a few top priorities for the Ravens.

In the Ravens’ 21-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 6, cornerback Jerraud Powers sacked Ben Roethlisberger by jumping onto the Pittsburgh quarterback’s back, sliding off, and then swiping at his feet to trip him up for an 11-yard loss.

The play was another reminder of how difficult it is to take down the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Roethlisberger. Targeting his midsection is a priority, but Powers said defensive players must also grab Roethlisberger’s throwing arm.

“If you get him, just wrap him up and try to get his arm because he’s so strong,” Powers said after Friday’s practice. “A lot of guys have him wrapped up, but he’ll find a way to get the ball out. So if you get a chance to get him, just try to make sure you grab those arms and everybody else will come and finish him off.”

Powers said the Steelers' wide receivers are well-versed in breaking off their routes and going off script when Roethlisberger is scrambling in the backfield.

“He’s not looking to run because he’s got such a good group of targets and weapons at receiver,” Powers said. “He knows that if he buys himself time, those guys can find ways to break their routes off and get open, and that’s when he makes a lot of his plays – just extending a play and throwing a big shot to one of those receivers.”

Despite his size, Roethlisberger is incredibly adept at moving around the pocket and avoiding sacks. Coach John Harbaugh said Roethlisberger is one of the best quarterbacks at dodging the pass rush.

“You really have to do a good job,” Harbaugh said. “It’s tough enough to get to him with their offensive line, and they get the ball out quick with screens and checkdowns. But then if you do get there, you want to wrap him up and hang on.”

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