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Contrary To Popular Belief, Steelers Are Throwing Deep Quite A Bit This Season

If you think the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t throw deep down the field enough this season, you might be interested in the stats that I compiled below.

Through their first 11 games of the season, the Steelers have thrown a pass that has traveled 15 or more yards past the line of scrimmage 81 times and that’s the fourth-most such attempts in the league. Now, due to their late bye week this season, the Steelers have played one more game than 30 other teams in the league, so it’s only fair to represent the deep passing attempt numbers by game. That number comes in at 7.36, which is good for eighth most in the league when it comes to deep passing attempts per game.

Not only is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing deep a lot this season, he’s also connecting as well and for big yardage. The Steelers (I have to use Steelers because Robert Golden has also thrown a deep passes this season on a fake punt) have completed 46.9% of all passes thrown 15 yards or more past the line of scrimmage. That’s good for ninth-best in the league. In addition, those 38 completed deep passes have resulted in 1112 passing yards and a league-best 12 deep pass touchdowns.

As far as quarterback ratings go on deep passes this season, the Steelers current team passer rating of 122.6 only trails the Green Bay Packers and their quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

19.4% of all Steelers passing attempts this season have been deep passes and that ranks them right around the middle of the league in that stat.

Now, while Roethlisberger hasn’t necessarily set the league on fire this season with his throws that have traveled 20 or more yards past the line of scrimmage, he is 20-of-36 (55.6%) passing on throws 15-19 yards past the line of scrimmage, according to our own charting project.

One thing that has stuck out to me over the course of the last few weeks after charting every single one of Roethlisberger’s passes all the back to the game against the Houston Texans is just how much the Steelers quarterback doesn’t like to thrown down the field between the numbers. So far this season, I have Roethlisberger going 9-of-16 for 200 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions on throws 15 or more yards down the middle of field.

Conversely, Roethlisberger loves to go deep down the left side as he is 18-of-35 for 513 yards and five touchdowns. Six of his deep touchdown passes this season were thrown to the right side but he’s only attempted 29 such throws and completed 10 in total.

Here is one final deep passing nugget for you. Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has caught 17 passes this season thrown 15 yards or more past the line of scrimmage and only rookie Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has caught more (19).

Still think the Steelers don’t throw deep enough?

The table below should be sortable for you and all stats are courtesy of NFL.com, Pro Football Reference and All-22 Tape.

TEAM GMS COMP ATT ATT/G COMP % YDS TD INT Y/A RATE TOT ATT TOT ATT%
PHI 10 35 94 9.40 37.2% 1009 7 8 10.7 67.2 415 22.7%
TAM 10 38 89 8.90 42.7% 1043 8 6 11.7 88.4 338 26.3%
IND 10 44 85 8.50 51.8% 1204 6 3 14.2 106.1 436 19.5%
PIT 11 38 81 7.36 46.9% 1112 12 2 13.7 122.6 417 19.4%
CAR 11 35 80 7.27 43.8% 895 6 2 11.2 99.7 390 20.5%
ARI 10 30 79 7.90 38.0% 921 8 1 11.7 110.8 358 22.1%
ATL 10 37 77 7.70 48.1% 853 1 6 11.1 60.1 385 20.0%
CLE 10 38 75 7.50 50.7% 1062 3 1 14.2 104.2 327 22.9%
SFO 10 23 74 7.40 31.1% 679 5 3 9.2 71.8 326 22.7%
NWE 10 27 71 7.10 38.0% 680 4 3 9.6 74.9 374 19.0%
DEN 10 31 70 7.00 44.3% 971 9 4 13.9 106.8 413 16.9%
TEN 10 24 69 6.90 34.8% 753 4 5 10.9 65.7 307 22.5%
NOR 10 35 68 6.80 51.5% 915 5 4 13.5 97.1 417 16.3%
STL 10 27 67 6.70 40.3% 795 5 5 11.9 78.9 327 20.5%
NYG 10 24 67 6.70 35.8% 625 2 4 9.3 55.9 371 18.1%
BUF 10 28 66 6.60 42.4% 777 3 2 11.8 89 360 18.3%
SDG 10 28 65 6.50 43.1% 807 7 6 12.4 87.1 332 19.6%
DET 10 22 64 6.40 34.4% 682 6 6 10.7 67.3 371 17.3%
OAK 10 20 64 6.40 31.3% 578 4 3 9 67.1 392 16.3%
MIN 10 22 63 6.30 34.9% 472 2 6 7.5 33.4 340 18.5%
CHI 10 22 63 6.30 34.9% 679 6 7 10.8 68.3 382 16.5%
WAS 10 26 59 5.90 44.1% 821 3 5 13.9 72.5 346 17.1%
JAX 10 20 58 5.80 34.5% 647 5 4 11.2 77.3 356 16.3%
CIN 10 24 57 5.70 42.1% 739 6 3 13 102.4 320 17.8%
BAL 10 21 56 5.60 37.5% 697 10 4 12.4 95 352 15.9%
HOU 10 27 55 5.50 49.1% 776 4 5 14.1 81.4 284 19.4%
DAL 10 26 55 5.50 47.3% 771 6 3 14 107.2 309 17.8%
NYJ 10 11 53 5.30 20.8% 357 3 9 6.7 34.4 343 15.5%
GNB 10 27 52 5.20 51.9% 956 9 0 18.4 137 328 15.9%
SEA 10 19 51 5.10 37.3% 521 3 3 10.2 70.8 292 17.5%
MIA 10 14 50 5.00 28.0% 373 2 3 7.5 46.5 358 14.0%
KAN 10 16 33 3.30 48.5% 374 0 4 11.3 50.1 292 11.3%
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