Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ranks among the league’s passing leaders. (Keith Srakocic/The Associated Press)


How he beats you: The Pittsburgh Steelers this season have shifted their offensive philosophy, going from a run-heavy to a very pass-oriented attack. Roethlisberger, now in his ninth season, is on pace to throw for 4,706 yards — a career high — and 29 touchdowns. At 6-foot-5, 241 pounds, Roethlisberger is hard to bring down, and has the mobility to elude pass-rushers and extend plays. He has done well as his team has taken on a new approach to attacking defenses. But unlike in years past, when the Steelers would go deep with Big Ben, this year, he is being asked to methodically move his team downfield, with the bulk of his passes being completed for less than 10 yards a pop.

”This definitely isn’t your grandfather’s Steelers,” Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson says. “I was over there [with] Baltimore, and they were a pounding team, but they’re a passing team now. They run a lot of three-step and it’s definitely a different ball club than when I played them.”

How to stop him: Because of his size and his agility, Roethlisberger is difficult to bring down, but the Redskins will try to hit him with multiple defenders to disrupt his rhythm. The Redskins haven’t had the most luck in getting to quarterbacks since Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker went down with injury, but look for defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to use a good deal of creativity up front. The Redskins’ defensive backs also must be on point on their assignments, but that could be a challenge given the overall speed that the Steelers boast in their receiving unit.

“They’ve got speed, they’ve got a quarterback who extends the play,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall says. “They’ve got a durn good offense. Ben’s probably bigger than anybody we have on defense, except for the linemen. We’re definitely going to have to rally around him, get as many guys to him as possible. He’s going to try to extend the plays, and we’ll have to stay around him, get a hand in his face and get as many guys around him.”

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