Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2015 Pro Bowl: Ben Roethlisberger one of five Pittsburgh Steelers picked

By Scott Brown
December 23, 2014

Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger

» Pro Bowl analysis: AFC | NFC » Complete roster


Ben Roethlisberger, QB, third Pro Bowl selection: Roethlisberger has been one of the NFL’s most prolific passers. He threw six touchdown passes in back-to-back games and the 11th-year veteran has 4,635 passing yards, trailing only New Orleans’ Drew Brees (4,671 yards) going into the final week of the season. Roethlisberger can break his own Steelers record for touchdown passes in a season (32) if he tosses three scoring passes Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. Opponents have picked off Roethlisberger just eight times and he has a current streak of 132 passes without an interception. 

Who he beat out: Brees is the first alternate at quarterback even though the perennial Pro Bowler leads the NFL in passing yards. The Saints’ decline cost Brees a chance of making the Pro Bowl -- for now. 

Le'Veon Bell, RB, first Pro Bowl selection: The second-year man made the first of what should be many Pro Bowls on the same day his teammates voted him Steelers MVP. Bell’s emergence is one of the main reasons why the Steelers are second in the NFL in total offense (415.4 yards per game). Bell leads the AFC with 1,341 yards rushing and the 6-1, 225-pounder has established a Steelers single-season record in yards from scrimmage (2,115). There is not a more complete back in the NFL. 

Who he beat out: The back with whom Bell most favorably compares, Chicago’s Matt Forte, is a startling omission. Forte leads all NFL running backs in catches (94) and receiving yards (785). He is also third in yards from scrimmage with 1,772 yards. 

Antonio Brown, WR, third Pro Bowl selection: The former sixth-round draft pick leads the NFL in catches (122) and receiving yards (1,570). Brown needs just two catches against the Bengals to pass Herman Moore and Wes Welker for the second-most receptions in a season in NFL history. Brown has caught at least five passes in 31 consecutive games. There were questions about whether Brown could approach his production in 2013, when he caught 110 passes for 1,499 yards. The fifth-year veteran has been even better this season even though opposing teams have tried all manner of coverages to take him out of the game. 

Who he beat out: Wow, a tough group to crack. Rookie sensation Odell Beckham Jr.,Golden Tate and Jeremy Maclin are among the wideouts who made the Pro Bowl only as alternates. Former Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who has caught 95 passes for 1,337 yards and nine touchdowns, is also an alternate after a breakout season. 

Maurkice Pouncey, C, fourth Pro Bowl selection: The fifth-year veteran has had a heck of a bounce-back season after missing most of 2013 because of a torn ACL. Pouncey has re-established himself as one of the premier centers in the NFL while playing in every game. Stout and athletic, Pouncey is effective pulling in the run game and his return is a big reason why the Steelers are tied with the Green Bay Packers in yards per play (6.2) and second in the NFL with 24.1 first downs per game. 

Who he beat out: Chris Myers is an alternate despite anchoring a line that has the Houston Texans among the top rushing teams in the NFL. The Texans are fourth in the NFL with 135.9 rushing yards per game despite cycling through quarterbacks because of injuries and ineffectiveness. 

Lawrence Timmons, LB, first Pro Bowl selection: Consistency finally earned the eighth-year veteran a Pro Bowl nod. Timmons, who has missed just two games in his career, is third in the AFC with 121 tackles and he has been a stabilizing force on a defense that has been besieged by injuries. The 6-1, 234-pounder has regularly played both inside linebacker positions in the same game this season and he has recorded at least 10 tackles in six of the Steelers’ 15 games. Timmons recorded 13 tackles last Sunday in a 20-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. One of those stops came on a fourth-and-1 at the end of the first half with the Chiefs on the verge of scoring. 

Who he beat out: Detroit's DeAndre Levy is third in the NFL with 140 tackles, and he is one of the best players on a defense that is second in the NFL in scoring (16.8 points allowed per game) and total yards (295.9 yards per game).

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