I was fooling around with some passing stats tonight, and more specifically first down stats, when I came across the stats for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on 1st down and 10 this season. Heading into this season Roethlisberger has been a good career passer on 1st and 10 by registering a 63.3% completion ratio and a healthy 8.6 yards per attempt. His passer rating heading into this season on that down and distance was 92.3.
This year though through the first 10 games of the 2011 season Roethlisberger is way off his usual self on 1st and 10 as he has just a 58.4% completion percentage to go along with a 6.3 yards per attempt. 5 of his 9 interceptions have come on this down and distance and he has 0 touchdowns. Those numbers equate to a 58.7 passer rating.
I compared his numbers to the other quarterbacks in the league this year with 60 or more attempts on 1st down and 10 and he ranks right near the bottom as you can see in the table below.
I dug deeper and compiled the targets of these 1st down passes as you can see in the bottom table and found that second year wide receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are down at the bottom of the list as far as completion percentages go. Heading into the Steelers bye week, Brown lead all receivers in catches from weeks 7 to 10, but lost in those numbers is the fact he was targeted 12 times on 1st and 10 and only had 5 catches for 46 yards in those 4 games.
While I am not overly worried about these stats for Roethlisberger just yet, it is worth paying attention to as we head into the final 6 games of the season. Ben is still fantastic on 3rd downs once again this season and as long as he continues to convert those 3rd and longs it will make his 1st and 10 woes an irrelevant stat. Of course if he picks his 1st and 10 production up, it would present less predictability perhaps on 2nd downs. I will check back in on these stats after a few more games to see if he has improved.
1st & 10 Quarterback Passing Stats Through Week 11
Steelers 1st & 10 Pass Targets