Don’t look now, but Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger appears to still have it. After throwing for over 500 yards and leading his fourth game-winning drive in the past five weeks, the 14-year veteran is seemingly settling back in after coming out of his mental retirement that many seemed to place him in.
For somebody who is looking to have one foot out the door in retirement, Roethlisberger is certainly not making it easy on himself. Following a career-high 66 pass attempts in the last game, he now averages more passes attempted per game than any other player in the NFL, currently sitting at 38.6 per game.
He is also now second in yardage with 3744 passing yards, averaging 288 yards per game. After going 10 regular-season games without throwing for 300 or more yards, he has three 300-yard games in his past six, with a 290-yard and 299-yard game thrown in.
Since the dreaded Week Five loss to Jacksonville, in fact, his numbers have gotten much better. Through the first five weeks, he had 120 completions on 195 pass attempts for completion percentage of 61.5. He had 1269 total passing yards, averaging 253.8 yards per game, and just 6.5 yards per attempt. He also had six touchdowns to seven interceptions with a 75.8 quarterback rating.
Eight games later—half of a full season—he has completed 318 of 502 pass attempts for the aforementioned 3744 yards, averaging 7.5 yards per attempt with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions
And a quarterback rating up to 91.1.
Let’s zoom in on the past eight games in particular, however, and see how he did exclusively during that stretch. His passing targets have been less reliable in that span, actually, with more drops and time missed, yet he has done more with them.
Roethlisberger has completed 198 of his 307 pass attempts over the course of the past eight games for a completion percentage of 64.5, three percentage points better than the five-game mark. He has thrown for 2475 yards, averaging 309.4 yards per game, and 8.1 yards per pass attempt, more than a yard and a half better than the five-week mark.
He has thrown for 18 touchdowns and six interceptions in the past five games, going from 1.2 touchdowns and 1.4 interceptions per game to 2.25 and .75 per game, respectively. His quarterback rating over this span is 100.8, a 25-point improvement.
Let’s have a bit more fun, and project what Roethlisberger’s season number would be on this eight-game pace. He would complete 396 of 614 passes for 4950 yards with 36 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The per-game marks would, of course, remain the same, averaging more than eight yards per throw, over 300 yards per game, with a quarterback rating north of 100 and a completion percentage close to 65.