The League

Doug Farrar

Doug Farrar

A staff writer

Big Ben, Collins in Danger


Standard practice seems to be that the higher you go up in the playoff run, the more vulnerable your rookies become. Matt Ryan looked very green against Arizona's surprising pass rush in the Wild Card round, and I suppose you'd have to say that Baltimore's Joe Flacco, the other first-year man under center this postseason, is next to fold under Tennessee's impressive defense.

Except that it's Baltimore's defense that's playing the best of any remaining team. And this squad took veteran Kerry Collins to the woodshed in Week 5, until a late drive -- exacerbated by a ludicrous roughing the passer call on third and long -- allowed the Titans to pull out a squeaker. You saw what Baltimore did to Miami last week, and I think Collins will be the next to bend under that furious attack.

Of the remaining quarterbacks, the ones who are most valuable to their teams are the ones who lead offenses with iffy running games and do their thing behind questionable offensive lines. That would put Big Ben Roethlisberger in the crosshairs. The Chargers put up only 28 regular-season sacks this year, but grabbed four when they lost, 11-10, at Pittsburgh earlier this season. Pittsburgh's defense is almost as impressive as Baltimore's, but if Big Ben can't stay upright, it won't really matter.

By Doug Farrar  |  January 9, 2009; 6:34 PM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Carolina Panthers , Doug Farrar , New York Giants , Philadelphia Eagles , Pittsburgh Steelers , San Diego Chargers , Tennessee Titans Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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