Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made his 2016 preseason debut Friday night on the road against the New Orleans Saints and he used the annual tune-up game to show that he’s more than ready for the upcoming regular season.
Roethlisberger, who only played two offensive series before being removed from the game, completed 12 of his 17 pass attempts for 148 yards and two touchdowns and his stats could have been even better if not for a few drops.
Roethlisberger was very accurate Friday night in New Orleans as evidenced by the breakdown below of all 17 of his pass attempts against the Saints.
Roethlisberger’s first throw of the game was over the middle to tight end Jesse James and while it may have been a tad high, it hit the young player right in the hands and ultimately will go down in the books as a drop for the Penn State product.
On the very next play, Roethlisberger hit running back Le’Veon Bell on the left side of the field on a little flair out and as you can see, the quarterback led his pass catcher so he could immediately tuck and run after the catch and break a tackle attempt.
Roethlisberger’s next pass was to wide receiver Markus Wheaton on a screen and while maybe it was thrown just a tad behind, the football was delivered very quickly and resulted in a 4-yard gain.
Roethlisberger’s next pass was to wide receiver Antonio Brown and against press coverage. Brown curled out just past the first down marker and Roethlisberger delivered the pass to him right on time and to the outside.
Against zone coverage, Roethlisberger attempted to hit DeAngelo Williams over the middle after he had leaked out of the backfield. It was a well thrown pass that Williams had clank off of his hands for the game’s second drop.
Roethlisberger’s first true incompletion of the game came on the the throw below to wide receiver Eli Rogers, who had run a timing wheel route out of the slot. Rogers, however, was slow to get his head around to find the football and the pass hit the ground one yard deep and to the outside of the wide receiver. While it would have required a great catch, Rogers probably would have had a better shot at this football had he seen it all the way.
Roethlisberger went right back to Rogers on the very next play and it was a 10-yard strike right at the sticks. the wide receiver flashed his entire body to the quarterback and thus it was an easy throw for Roethlisberger to make.
On this easy pitch and catch, Roethlisberger hits Brown on a comeback route against a 10-yard cushion and it results in an 8-yard gain on the play.
An easy tight end screen pass to James here that was unfortunately wiped by a questionable holding call on center Maurkice Pouncey.
On this Hank-concept play, Roethlisberger easily hit James in the middle of the field against zone coverage.
On 1st and goal, Roethlisberger again goes to a running back out in the flat and this time its Williams that he leads nicely.
On what might very well be considered Roethlisberger’s worst throw of the game by many on what looks to be an option route by Rogers, at least the pass is thrown to the outside where only the Steelers young wide receiver has a chance to catch the football. It should be noted, however, that Rogers was slightly held as he came out of his break and that likely interrupted the timing just enough as a result.
On Roethlisberger’s touchdown pass to James, it was a classic case of Ben being Ben. The Steelers quarterback stepped up to avoid the rush and in extending the play it gave James enough time to work himself open in the middle of the end zone where Roethlisberger easily found him with the short pass.
On the first play of the Steelers next offensive possession, Roethlisberger hit Brown on a tunnel screen and the wide receiver did the rest out on the edge thanks to great blocking by tackle Marcus Gilbert.
On the very next play, Roethlisberger easily hits Rogers underneath as the wide receiver is wide open thanks to his defender being rubbed off. Had Rogers broken the tackle after the catch the play likely results in a huge gain.
On the very next play, Roethlisberger threw deep and incomplete to Wheaton, who had problems gaining separation on his route.
Remember the attempted wheel pass to Rogers earlier in the game? The Steelers ran it again during their second offensive possesion and this time Roethlisberger dropped his throw right into Brown. It was a perfect throw and resulted in a touchdown.