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: Open Topic – how would you rate Ben Roethlisberger’s performance against the Bengals?
The Pittsburgh Steelers came out of their final road game with a victory, giving them five wins in a row overall, which included four games away from Heinz Field. On the season, they went 5-3 in away games, but Ben Roethlisberger’s statistics proved to be pedestrian.
Yesterday’s game was one of the few road trips, it should be noted, in which he did not throw an interception. He will now finish his eight road games with nine touchdown passes versus eight interceptions, and a completion percentage of about 60 percent or so.
During yesterday’s game, he completed 21 of 36 passes, throwing for 286 yards, averaging just under eight yards per pass attempt, with one touchdown pass, no interceptions, one sack (on a scramble from a busted play), and one fumble (which he recovered, on a botched snap).
Overall, those are pretty solid numbers, especially given the circumstances, and it cannot be ignored that one of his best passes on the afternoon was a 13-yard dart for a touchdown that ended up being negated by a chop block penalty, which should not reflect negatively on Roethlisberger.
On the other hand, he did throw several passes that were too high for his receivers, even his tall tight ends, and he struggled in particular early in the game with his accuracy, though he later settled down. He ended up completing 58.3 percent of his passes, though that includes at least one drop—and some deep incompletions that probably should have been no plays due to defensive penalties that were not called. Overall, Roethlisberger completed six of his 11 deep targets, which went for 156 yards and a touchdown, so…that’s pretty good.
He did lead the offense to seven scoring drives, even if only one ended up with a touchdown. Only two drives did not end with points, and that includes the final drive of the game, in which their purpose was to run out the clock, which they did with a nearly six-minute drive ending on the one-yard line.
So how do you think Roethlisberger did in his last game away from home before the playoffs?