2016 South Side Questions: How Will Big Ben Look Coming Back From Injury?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: Assuming that he plays against the Ravens, how with Ben Roethlisberger look coming off another injury?

With recent reports making it sound all the more likely that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is going to be making his return to the field on Sunday against the Ravens, 20 days after having his meniscus operated on, it would seem to be a reasonable question to ask how he might look in his first game back.

As Dave Bryan pointed out earlier this week, Roethlisberger has a history of showing rust when he is coming off an injury, and that is reflected not only in his stats, but in the team’s success. He has missed time due to injury seven times before this occasion, and the Steelers have gone 2-5 in those games.

Roethlisberger has thrown at least one interception in six of the seven games, with 10 interception in total, yet has thrown only nine touchdowns in comparison, throwing zero touchdowns twice. Last year, he had one of his worst games coming off an injury, throwing three interceptions to one touchdown.

Excluding a game early in his career in which he threw just 14 total passes, when the Steelers were still a running offense, Roethlisberger only posted a quarterback rating of 90 or above once in a game coming off injury, but posted a number below 60 four times.

Within the past five seasons, he has gone 1-2 coming off injuries. In 2012, he threw three touchdowns to one interception in a 24-34 loss, but he beat the Browns in 2011, 13-9, with no touchdowns or interceptions in a generally poor but not harmful performance.

While the Ravens might be floundering right now, they do have a statistically pretty good defense, though the pass rush is a bit lacking. While, they will be a formidable test for Roethlisberger, who is 2-6 while playing in Baltimore in his career, averaging less than a touchdown per game, but almost an interception and a half.

Part of the reason for that is that he gets sacked almost 3.5 times per game in Baltimore, even in years when the Ravens are struggling. The Ravens always get up for Steelers week, and they will be smelling blood in the water with a wounded Roethlisberger, their favorite target.

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