It certainly doesn’t appear as though Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is going to play in the season finale against the Cleveland Browns. While the team has largely attempted to play coy about whether or not they are going to rest some starters in the game, the lack of practice time for players like Roethlisberger make it exceedingly obvious.
As a result, we can begin to draw conclusion about his regular season, which can be said, in part, to be a tale of two halves. While he has worked out his final stat line into respectability, finishing with nearly 30 touchdown passes, a two-to-one touchdown to interception ratio, and over 4000 passing yards, much of that productivity came after the bye week.
His final numbers look like this: 360 of 561 passing for 4251 yards, a 64.2 completion percentage, averaging 7.6 yards per attempt, 28 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and a 93.4 quarterback rating.
But let’s just look at the numbers from the second half for a moment. For starters, he has thrown at least two touchdowns in all seven games. That is the longest active streak in the NFL. He has thrown 18 touchdown passes against five interceptions and only twice completed fewer than two thirds of his pass attempts.
Over the course of the past seven games, he has completed 192 of 286 pass attempts, resulting in a completion percentage north of 67 percent. 67.13, to be more accurate. He has thrown for 2189 yards, averaging 312.7 yards per game. His 7.65 yards per attempt is not a great improvement over his overall number, but he has averaged 2.6 touchdowns per game versus .71 interceptions. His quarterback rating has been 103.6 over this span.
First, let’s compare that to the numbers that he put up in the first half of the season. Completing 168 of 275 pass attempts for 2062 yards, he averaged 258 yards per game and 7.5 yards per attempt, with a completion percentage of 61.1. He threw just 10 touchdowns to nine interceptions. His quarterback rating was just 82.7, more than 20 points worse.
Now, let’s prorate the first-half and second-half numbers over the course of a full season, to see what they would look like over 16 games. Through his first eight games, a full season at that pace would have yielded the following numbers: 336 of 550 passing for 4124 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. The completion percentage, yards per attempt and per game, and quarterback rating would obviously remain roughly the same.
Now, the numbers over the past seven games. What would that look over the course of a full year?
He would have completed 439 of 654 passes for 5003 yards for 41 touchdowns and 11-12 interceptions. This is the quarterback he has been down the back half, and that has included time missed from his top two receivers and one of his top two tight ends. I would take that quarterback.