The third quarter of the season has not been so kind to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in terms of ball security. While he has only thrown seven turnover-worthy balls over the course of the past four games (still not particularly great), all of them were maximized by the defense with an interception, though one of them was negated by a penalty. Let’s take a look back at them.
The first game in the quarter was a doozy against the Jacksonville Jaguars, against which he threw five interceptions, two negated by penalty. I included one here because the penalty did not affect the throw. All were intended for Antonio Brown—in fact five of the seven were.
The first interception was just a matter of Roethlisberger not seeing Jalen Ramsey, who had his eyes on the quarterback’s and was able to jump on a deep target for Brown over the middle. It was initially ruled as an incomplete pass but rightly overturned upon review.
The second interception, again in Brown’s direction, was just a matter of an overthrown ball. Safety Barry Church, who picked off a pass last year off a Ramsey deflection, got another off of Big Ben as a result of the poor placement on the throw.
Myles Jack thought he got himself one as well, diving in front of tight end Jesse James on a pass under pressure. Fortunately for the Steelers, Calais Campbell was flagged for roughing the passer, which wiped the turnover away.
Finally, Ramsey got his second of the game playing Brown in man coverage in the end zone. It was an admittedly impressive individual effort by the defensive back, but Roethlisberger, despite what he said, should have placed this ball further ahead of the receiver.
He threw another two interceptions in Denver, both of them with Brown as the target. The first was similar to the Church interception in that it was a matter of a simply poor pass, Chris Harris getting this one. As you can see, he hardly had to move. Roethlisberger blamed a defensive hold on Brown to explain why the receiver couldn’t get to this spot, but his explanation doesn’t hold up. It may have been a hold, but it was minimal in terms of slowing him down.
The game ended with this interception by lineman Shelby Harris at the one. Pretty much everything starting with the snap exchange was bad. If Harris didn’t intercept it, the defender on Brown is in front of the receiver as the next in line anyway.
Finally, Roethlisberger threw a lame-duck pass on Sunday looking for Vance McDonald that was easily picked off by Derwin James. This was just a bad throw that he said afterward slipped out of his hand. Either way, the defender was in perfect position.
I had Roethlisberger down for 17 turnover-worthy throws through the first half of the season, so seven more brings him up to 24 on the season. He’s on pace for an astonishing 32 if he keeps up this pace. This was a particularly bad quarter, however, in terms of defenses translating those turnover-worthy throws into actual turnovers.