Prior to the 2018 regular season, only five players from 1950 to the present day managed to record 1100 passing yards through the first three games of the year. Two players managed to join that group, and both of them played on Monday Night Football, as both Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger crossed that threshold.
Fitzpatrick, in fact, became the first player in NFL history to throw for 400 or more yards in three consecutive games, whether the first three games of the season or otherwise. He has 1230 passing yards on the year so far, and it’s amazing that that is only the second-most ever. Tom Brady in 2011 threw for an astonishing 1327 yards.
As for Roethlisberger, under almost any other season with the exception of five others, he would be leading the league in passing yards right now. He has tossed 1140 passing yards so far through three games, including over 800 yards over the course of the past two games. He has started a season with three 300-yard games for the first time in his career.
His 1140 passing yards stands as the sixth-most to start a season in NFL history (dating back to 1950), though he is only one of two players on the list to have a quarterback rating under 100. The other was Drew Bledsoe in 1994. Kurt Warner somehow had a quarterback rating north of 100 despite throwing as many interceptions as touchdowns.
As for Roethlisberger, he has tossed seven touchdowns to four interceptions so far. He threw three interceptions in the season opener, but has thrown only one in the past two games, against six of his seven touchdown passes.
Also noteworthy is the fact that he has been more accurate than he was to start last season—with the exception of deep passes—completing over 66 percent of his throws. He completed nearly 80 percent of his passes against the Buccaneers after starting the season with a 23-for-41 showing for a completion percentage of 56.1.
At the moment, Roethlisberger is on pace to throw for…um…6080 yards on the season. There’s an excellent chance that he ultimately falls off of that pace, currently averaging 380 passing yards per game.
But he is primed to make a run at his previous career-high, which was 4952 passing yards in 2014. He tied Drew Brees for the passing record that season. He has thrown for over 4000 yards in five seasons and is obviously in position to make that six, including two in a row.
The pace for 4000 yards over a 16-game season is 250 yards per game. Roethlisberger has or is averaging that in 10 of his 15 seasons, but, of course, he often fails to play every game. He would have almost certainly hit 4000 yards had he not rested in the season finale in 2016, for example.