For as much yardage as he may have put up through the air this season, the fact of the matter is that Ben Roethlisberger’s most important numbers are not all that impressive. He has just 18 touchdowns this season in 11 games, to go along with 14 interceptions. Only three plays have more interceptions, but 20 players have more touchdown passes.
But perhaps the greatest concern is just how poorly those numbers split up between home and away games. When it comes to scoring through the air and protecting the football, the Pittsburgh Steelers under Roethlisberger have not been good away from Heinz Field.
In fact, while he has played in five games on the road—missing two, with one road game remaining—Roethlisberger has managed just two touchdown passes in those games, including one in the season opener that brought the score to 28-21 with seven seconds left in the game.
The other touchdown came in a 39-30 loss to the Seahawks, but he also threw two interceptions in that game. He has thrown seven interceptions in total on the road, including two yesterday—not including a potential pick six that was negated by an offside penalty.
Roethlisberger’s 2-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio on the road certainly has a lot to do with the fact that the Steelers are 2-3 in the five road games that he has played. They actually fared better—going 1-1—without him this far.
Granted, he has also thrown seven interceptions at home, though he has done so in six games instead of five. But averaging more than an interception per game is never acceptable, and Roethlisberger has simply been below the line in this category this season, which is surprising considering his ability to protect the football in recent years.
To make up for the seven interceptions, however, he also threw for 16 touchdowns in his six home games, averaging 2.7 touchdowns per game. The sharp, stark contrast between his home success and his road struggles could not be more clear when looking at where his scores have come.
The Steelers have only managed to score more than 21 points on the road three times this season, twice with Roethlisberger, and those two games were the Seattle loss and a 33-20 win over the Bengals, which included a defensive pick six.
Against the Patriots in the opener, the Steelers had just 14 points until netting a touchdown in garbage time with seven seconds left on the clock, as noted earlier, one of just two touchdown passes Roethlisberger has had on the road this year.
Against the Rams, the offense scored just 12 points, nine with Roethlisberger before he left late in the third quarter with a knee injury. And yesterday, he managed to lead the offense to just 17 points in a 20-17 loss that set the Steelers’ playoff hopes back in a big way. Roethlisberger deserves a lot of the blame for this loss, but he also shares a large part of the burden for the team’s struggles on the road all year.