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Roethlisberger 4.6% More Aggressive With Throws In 2017 Than In 2016

For most of his NFL career, the running joke about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been that he likes his receivers college-open. While that joke may or may not have held some relevance for a good portion of Roethlisberger’s career, this past season he’s purportedly been a more aggressive quarterback with his throws.

According to Matt Harmon, who works with stats for NFL.com, Roethlisberger was the 10th-most aggressive quarterback in the NFL in 2017 with 19.3% of his total pass attempts being thrown into tight windows (< 1 yard of separation) this season.

Aggressiveness (AGG%) – Aggressiveness tracks the amount of passing attempts a quarterback makes that are into tight coverage, where there is a defender within 1 yard or less of the receiver at the time of completion or incompletion. AGG is shown as a % of attempts into tight windows over all passing attempts.

So, how does that 19.3% aggressiveness percentage rate of Roethlisberger’s from the 2017 season compare to his previous years? Unfortunately, we can’t get an answer to that question right now but Harmon was kind enough to point out that Roethlisberger’s 2016 aggressiveness percentage rate was 14.7%. In short, Roethlisberger was 4.6% more aggressive with his throws this season than he was last season.

Below is what Harmon wrote about Roethlisberger’s 2016 aggressiveness percentage exactly one year ago today:


Ben Roethlisberger is going deep when he throws into tight windows. The Steelers Pro Bowl quarterback ranks dead last in tight window percentage throws. However, 32.1 percent of his passes that traveled 20-plus air yards went into tight coverage, more than at any other distance of the field. Roethlisberger had the 8th-highest completion rate on such throws (29.6%).


I can only assume that Harmon’s 2017 recap of NFL quarterback aggressiveness will be posted soon and if that happens I’ll try to remember to update this post with his summary of Roethlisberger’s numbers. In the meantime, however, below is Roethlisberger’s aggressiveness percentage from 2017 by week in addition to his quarterback rating and overall completion percentage from each game.

You can view all of the 2017 and 2016 quarterback passing stats from Next Gen Stats at the attached link.

Roethlisberger AGG% By Week 2017 Regular Season
WEEK OPP AGG% RATE COMP%
1 CLE 11.1 95.0 66.7
2 MIN 14.3 104.8 65.7
3 CHI 23.1 82.7 56.4
4 BAL 13.3 79.3 60.0
5 JAC 18.2 37.8 60.0
6 KC 16.0 97.4 68.0
7 CIN 33.3 117.4 58.3
8 DET 25.8 87.7 54.8
10 IND 6.5 92.9 61.3
11 TEN 22.2 115.0 66.7
12 GB 11.1 106.8 73.3
13 CIN 27.5 88.5 60.0
14 BAL 19.7 99.7 66.7
15 NE 23.3 110.6 73.3
16 HOU 27.6 115.0 69.0
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