Over the course of the first three games of the 2016 season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger three six touchdown passes. But he also threw four interceptions. Now, he balanced that out over the course of the next two weeks, through another nine touchdown passes with no interceptions to give him 15 touchdowns to four interceptions.
Then he suffered a knee injury, and he threw two interceptions in the game in which he was injured, and another in the first game that he returned from the injury, in addition to throwing several other passes that could or should easily have been intercepted.
He has since cleaned up his game, and his gone three consecutive games without having thrown an interception, and his touchdown to interception ratio currently stands at a reasonably healthy 23 to 7, better than three to one. He had not gone three games without an interception since Weeks 14 to 16 of the 2014 season.
That was a feat that he accomplished three times in 2014, as a matter of fact, but if he avoids throwing an interception a week from Sunday, then it will be the first time since Weeks 11 through 14 of the 2013 season that he was able to hold out that long.
In fact, during that season, he went 206 pass attempts between throwing interceptions. He still has a way to go to match that streak, as he is currently sitting at 127 consecutive pass attempts since his last interception, which he threw against the Ravens in his first game back from injury—and, in fact, which was tipped and picked off by a lineman.
I have been vocal over the course of the past two seasons about the fact that Roethlisberger’s ball security had begun regressing after improving sharply in recent years. His 16 interceptions in 12 games in 2015 was a stark contrast to the nine that he had the year before in 16 games.
And his troubles had been especially notable on the road, which is why it was quite a good thing to see him include a pair of road games without an interception thrown over the course of the past two games. Leading up to those two road contests, his numbers away from Heinz Field had not been good in terms of turning the ball over through the air.
In fact, he had thrown at least one interception in his previous 10 away games prior to the games on Sunday and Thursday. The last time that he was able to avoid an interception on the road in Weeks 14 and 15 of the 2014 season—and also, obviously, the last time he managed to do that in two consecutive road games.
One of the most important things that the Steelers have to do going forward, with an inconsistent offense and a spotty defense, is to ensure that they don’t turn the ball over. They don’t get many turnovers on defense, so they can’t give them away on offense.