February 23 2011 Last updated at 09:48 AM ET
When It Comes to Holding the Ball, Joe Flacco Tops Ben Roethlisberger.By JJ Cooper
NFL Blogger | Follow on Twitter: @jjcoop36
Text SizeAAAPrint this page|EmailShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on DiggShare on LifestreamPittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger has deservedly developed a reputation as the quarterback who creates his own sacks. The Steelers' quarterback believes that he can dodge or shrug off pass rushers. And because of that he extends plays, buying time. Sometimes it leads to a big play, sometimes it leads to a sack.
Roethlisberger may be known for extending plays (and racking up high sack totals), but Baltimore's Joe Flacco was actually the king of holding the ball too long in 2010. In logging the time of each and every sack in the NFL in 2010, Flacco's 25 sacks of 3.1 seconds or more were five more than anyone else in the league.
I chose three seconds as the demarcation line because it's a pretty fair cutoff point for where a sack can no longer be blamed on a quarterback's blockers. The median sack time in the NFL last year was 2.7 seconds, just as it was in 2009. Obviously a line should be able to hold a three-man rush back longer than a eight-man all-out blitz, but for practical purposes, three seconds is the point where a quarterback should generally know that he has to get rid of the ball.
The leaderboard of the over-time sacks is filled with names you may expect. Flacco and Roethlisberger lead the way, but Chicago's Jay Cutler isn't far behind. Michael Vick's legs get him out of trouble a lot, but they also mean that he will also rack up some sacks.
At the other end of the spectrum, Peyton Manning has an internal clock that simply doesn't allow him the hold the ball for long. Only one of his 15 sacks last season was when he held the ball for three seconds or more. It runs in the family as Eli Manning also had only one long sack. Tennessee's Kerry Collins was also notable for very few long sacks