The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Was this the best offensive performance in the Ben Roethlisberger era?
The Steelers put up 52 points last night against a presumably good Carolina Panthers team that was 6-2 heading into the game, a better record by half a game than Pittsburgh had. That was the most the team had scored since Ben Roethlisberger has been in the league—almost since he’s been alive, as the last time they’ve scored 52 was in 1984.
For his part, he had a perfect game as passer rating goes, completing 22 of 25 pass attempts for 328 yards and throwing five touchdowns, each to a different receiver. Nobody had a 100-yard game on their own on the night, though Antonio Brown came close, and they scored from distance twice, as well as inside the red zone four times, three with goal to go.
Of course seven of those 52 points were supplied by the defense on a pick six. But the team never punted while Roethlisberger was in the game, only settling for a field goal once. The only drives that didn’t end in a touchdown were the field goal drive and the drive at the end of the first half, which ended with a kneeldown. I’m sure Jordan Berry was pleased.
Even with the numbers sliding under the Joshua Dobbs-led offense, the Steelers still averaged 7.9 yards per play on offense and did not turn the ball over. I believe they went seven for eight on third down while Roethlisberger was in the game, and they were perfect inside the red zone. They only allowed one sack.
The offense really looked more invincible than at any other time I can really recall under Roethlisberger off the top of my head, and they have had some great games—games in which Roethlisberger has thrown for more than five touchdowns.