Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger typically has about six to eight touchdowns at this point of the season, going back over the history of his long career. This year, he has 11 through five games, which is the second-most that he has ever had through the first five games of a season, on pace to set a new career-high, and franchise record.
He has thrown at least one touchdown in every game so far, and has thrown three touchdowns in a game three times. But he did start off the 2016 season with 15 touchdowns in five games before finishing with only 29. He was on pace for 48, but over the rest of the season, set a pace that would have taken him to only 25.
Despite the scoring successes, not everything about Roethlisberger’s 2018 season has been great, which is something that Pro Football Focus tried to dive deeper into earlier. He is coming off of his most complete game of the season, however—the entire team is—so hopefully there are calmer seas ahead.
Yesterday during his weekly radio appearance, the quarterback admitted that an elbow injury that he suffered late in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns when he was hit by Genard Avery had been affecting him, and noted his sailing passes even in the first half of Sunday’s game.
“You know, honestly, it was just dealing with a little bit of an elbow issue and it made me drop my elbow”, he said, as we wrote about yesterday. “A little bit for a comfort factor, which caused the ball to sail. I know we talked about it on this show before, when your arm drops a little bit, the ball tends to sail. And so, in the second half I just kind of came out and I kind of had a talk with myself and said I got to suck it up and deliver the ball the way I need to, and I need to play better. And so just kind of forced my way through it”.
As you can imagine, he was asked about his elbow today, and he downplayed it entirely. “It’s fine. I don’t even need to talk about it”, he said. “It’s good”.
As the quarterback tells it, the injury was more of a mental hurdle than a physical one, and perhaps after Sunday’s second half he believes that he has righted his mind to allow him to be able to play as he needs to in order to drive the team to success.
On the first drive of the second half, for example, he completed five of six passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. He added another touchdown pass on a deep pass that he has struggled to hit all season, a 47-yarder.