Who’s laughing now? Who’s laughing at the Pittsburgh Steelers and their quarterback these days? A couple of months ago, it seemed to some, both on the outside and in the inside, in Steelers Nation, that the organization was teetering on a precipice, after Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions and, through frustration during a post-game interview, insincerely speculated, “maybe I don’t have it anymore”.
But he does, and he’s proven it, letting just about every opponent since then ‘have it’. The Steelers have not lost a game since then, eight games ago, and more often than not, Roethlisberger played an integral role in ensuring that that was the case.
Last night was no different. He simply threw more passes in a single game than he ever has before—66 of them—for 506 yards, all of it necessary in securing the victory, in doing so becoming the first player in NFL history to throw for at least 500 passes in three different games.
That is not the only thing that separates him from many of the other quarterbacks in the 500-yard club, however, which has seen its ranks bolstered in recent years. Roethlisberger’s third was the 21st game of all time, but his first was just the eighth in NFL history. And all three of his have come in regulation.
And in wins. Of the other 18 500-yard games, the quarterback doing all the chucking has only gone 11-7, yielding a winning percentage of .611. Roethlisberger has won all three of his games, and in two of those wins, the yardage was very much necessary, leading game-winning drives.
In all, Roethlisberger has thrown for 1531 yards with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions or fumbles in his three 500-yard performances. He has completed 113 of 161 pass attempts for a completion percentage of 70.2, averaging 9.5 yards per pass attempt. In other words, he has been excellent, and that is not always the case in such games, a number of which include overtime.
He threw two touchdowns last night against one of the best passing defenses in the league, and those touchdowns went to running back Le’Veon Bell and fullback Roosevelt Nix. Neither of them went to a wide receiver, but 11 on his completions went to Antonio Brown, who made good on those touches for 213 yards.
For the moment, anyway, he now actually leads the league in passing yardage with 3744 yards on the season, and his numbers have been slowly but surely ticking upward ever since that disastrous encounter with the Jaguars’ defense.
This is all good news heading into next week’s showdown with the Patriots as the defense trends in the opposite direction. Tom Brady can put up 38 points on a bad day, but if Roethlisberger can put up 39, then that’s really all that matters at the end of the day.