Prior to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday win over the Cincinnati Bengals, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was in a bit of a slump when it came to throwing deep as he was 6-of-27 on passes thrown 16 or more yards down the field in his three previous games. Roethlisberger, however, got back on track with his deep throws against the Bengals.
While most of Roethlisberger’s throws Sunday flew nine or less yards in the air past the line of scrimmage, he did connect on three of his four passes that traveled 16 or more yards in the air against the Bengals.
After failing to connect with his first deep pass of the game to wide receiver Antonio Brown with 8:41 left in the first quarter, Roethlisberger proceeded to connect on his final three deep throws. His final deep throw of the game was a pass that flew 50 yards in the air and it dropped right into the arms of rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who had blown past Bengals cornerback Leon Hall down the right sideline. 50 yards later Bryant was in the Bengals end zone and at that point the game was essentially over with 8:43 left on the fourth quarter clock.
Roethlisberger talked about the perfectly executed bomb to Bryant after the game.
“It was a pass-run, and if they gave us a certain look, we were going to check to a run,” Roethlisberger said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “They showed the run check, but I didn’t quite believe the safety wasn’t going to come down.
“He was trying to bait me into coming down all day. Either I got lucky or saw something right. I threw it up and let (Bryant) do the rest of the work.”
Next Sunday the Steelers will play the Atlanta Falcons on the road and while they have already allowed 82 deep passes of 16 or more yards to be completed so far this season, opposing quarterbacks only have a 39.0% completion rate on all deep throws against them.
The Falcons will play the Green Bay Packers Monday night and it will be interesting to see if they’re able to defend the deep passing of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has completed 49.3% of his deep pass attempts so far this season.