Pass-rushing specialists aren't a typically picky bunch. Sacks are a relatively rare occurrence - the best in the business manage around one per game - so if a defensive end or outside linebacker gets a shot at the quarterback, odds are he's more concerned about simply making the tackle than he is about the name of the guy with the ball. Some matchups, however, transcend the obvious motivations for making a sack. Just ask the Ravens' Terell Suggs.
"I just like tackling quarterbacks," said Suggs on The Dan Patrick Show. "But I do have my favorite."
Though Patrick was initially curious about Suggs' desire to bring down rookie quarterback, and thorn in the side of NFL veterans everywhere, Johnny Manziel, the Ravens' outside linebacker had another signal-caller in mind: Ben Roethlisberger. And according to Suggs, one major reason a sack of the sizable Steelers' quarterback is so satisfying is the difficulty of the feat.
"He's very tough," said Suggs. "It's tougher than everyone thinks. He's probably the toughest quarterback in the NFL to sack just because of his physical stature."
Roethlisberger is listed at 6 feet 5 inches tall and 241 pounds. Suggs estimates the 32-year-old is an inch taller than he's listed. As for the weight, we'd wager that Roethlisberger hasn't been under 250 pounds since the day he was drafted. The combination of size and mobility makes for a pass-rusher's nightmare, and Suggs has plenty of anecdotes describing what it's like to try to bring down "Big Ben."
"There was one time," said Suggs. "It was a Sunday-night game in Baltimore ini 2010. They had just gotten a turnover and I was trying to get the ball back and I just couldn't get him down. He was able to escape from me and throw the ball out of bounds. I was cursing at him and he was cursing at me, but it's all in good fun."
Of course, the biggest reasons for Suggs' preoccupation with Roethlisberger are the playoff implications of every Ravens-Steelers game. Postseason consequences can put a strain on any relationship.
"Ours is a little more heated because we're rivals in the same division."
Unfortunately for Suggs, barring a scenario where both teams qualify for and meet up in the playoffs, he'll have to wait until next year to get another shot at his favorite target.