The Pittsburgh Steelers were soundly beaten by the Baltimore Ravens last Thursday night in a game in which Pittsburgh only scored six points on a pair of Shaun Suisham field goals. It didn’t help that three of the Steelers’ possessions ended in turnovers, with two of them occurring deep in Ravens territory.
Somewhat lost in the unfortunately long list of ails coming out of this miserable performance was the fact that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in 31 games—since the 2011 season finale.
It was a 13-9 Steelers victory over the Cleveland Browns in which former Steelers running back Isaac Redman—recently retired—scored the lone touchdown on a 19-carry, 92-yard performance, ignoring the fact that he lost two fumbles in the process.
Roethlisberger, meanwhile, completed only 23 of 40 passes for 221 yards, producing a below-pedestrian 5.5 yards per pass attempt.
Big Ben actually failed to find the end zone in Week 16 as well during a night to forget in Candlestick Park as the Steelers were walloped by a then-emerging San Francisco 49ers team that has been in the NFC Championship game for three years running.
If you’ll recall, Roethlisberger suffered a significant high ankle sprain just the week before against the Browns after taking a low hit from former Steelers lineman Scott Paxson, who has been out of the league since then.
Roethlisberger’s decision to play the following week, even as he may have thought quite the opposite, was selfish on his part, as borne out by his ugly performance hopping around the field on one good leg. Though the offensive line did him no favors in that game, it was clear that he should have sat out.
And for whatever it’s worth, the game broke a nine-game streak during which Roethlisberger threw at least one touchdown pass. He failed to do so for two straight games, but then successfully found the end zone in 30 straight, until last Thursday.
So you know that, competitor as he is, Roethlisberger will be back out there tomorrow night looking for the end zone, ready to start a new streak to last for the rest of his career.
Nevertheless, his 30-game streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass is certainly something to be admired.
For at least one more day, Roethlisberger’s streak is tied for the sixth-longest in NFL history, though Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has an active streak of 30 games that he could take to 31 tomorrow afternoon.
It remains the best such streak is Steelers history by some margin; no other Steelers quarterback has ever thrown a touchdown in even 20 consecutive games. By the end of next season, he may have his name up on this list once again.