Sunday’s game at Heinz Field will see two of the most prolific quarterbacks in NFL history square off as Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers play host to Philip Rivers and his Los Angeles Chargers. The two 2004 first-round draft choices have led their teams to records of 7-3-1 and 8-3 to date, respectively, both primed for the postseason, and are playing some of the best football of their careers.
Roethlisberger is currently on-pace to record the third-most passing yards in NFL history. Meanwhile, Rivers is completing 69.5 percent of his passes after connecting on 25 consecutive attempts to begin his last game.
Said Rivers about being in the same class as Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, “you know you’re going to be linked to guys. It’s a heck of a group to be a part of. I think it’s something we can look back and be proud of, that draft class. But I don’t check to see where we all stack up, all that stuff. I know we all three have sustained pretty long, good careers”.
Roethlisberger made similar comments to the media on Wednesday, though he seemed to give a stronger indication that he does keep an eye on how he compares to the other statistically. Both have acknowledged that they don’t have much of a relationship with one another but share a great mutual respect.
One thing that Rivers conceded was that Roethlisberger has been more able and more successful in being able to extend plays with his legs. “Obviously he does a great job extending plays and is hard to bring down”, he said of the Steelers’ quarterback. “He probably has made a lot more plays on the move than I have over the years”.
Another thing that is worth pointing out is that only Tom Brady has recorded more victories in December over the course of the past decade-plus than have Roethlisberger and Rivers, the former having 38, the latter 39. Both will likely eclipse the 40-win mark in the month this season.
Whoever wins this game will secure a key victory that will keep them in the running for gaining a top seed, the Chargers holding a more difficult route because they have the Kansas City Chiefs in their division, though Los Angeles still has a game to play against them.
The Houston Texans and New England Patriots both sit at 8-3 heading into Week 13, the same as the Chargers, and slightly better than the Steelers’ 7-3-1. The Chiefs hold the best record in the AFC at 9-2. Of the group, the Patriots have the least pressure, as no other team in their division has a winning record.