Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week yesterday in what was no surprise. Against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, he completed 22 of 25 passes for over 300 yards and five touchdown passes without turning the ball over, for a perfect passer rating.
It was the second time this season that Roethlisberger was named the Offensive Player of the Week, but his performance on Sunday was one of the greatest of his career. It was so good that it’s hard to even dissect it, so I thought today I would take a look at the three passes that he did not connect on during the game.
The first incompletion did not come until 20 minutes into the game, and it was when the team was facing a third and 17, the only third-down play for the Roethlisberger-led offense that they failed to convert during the game.
The Panthers only rushed four against the Steelers’ offensive line. As JuJu Smith-Schuster looked to slide behind the zone coverage, Roethlisberger tried to hit his target down the field. However, defensive lineman Julius Peppers had dropped into coverage, and made a good read to break up a pass that admittedly could have been better-placed in a tight window.
It took another 15 minutes before Roethlisberger would fire another incompletion, again in Smith-Schuster’s direction, this time coming on second and nine, from the Panthers’ 12-yard line. Roethlisberger looked for his second-year receiver fading to the pylon.
While Captain Munnerlyn did a good job of covering from out of the slot, the replay shows that Smith-Schuster may have had a better chance of making the play than it initially seemed, as the ball hit his hands before the cornerback could get a hand on it.
The final incompletion of the game for Roethlisberger came with three minutes remaining in the quarter, looking for Stevan Ridley. Off play action, the running back came out of the backfield, but the timing of the throw was off after he stumbled making his turn.
In other words, you know you had a good game if these are the worst throws you made during a game.