The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t get what they came for as they visited the New Orleans Saints, which was a much-needed win. But while it’s no consolation prize, they did make a lot of franchise history, and perhaps one of the most notable was that set by Ben Roethlisberger. With his three touchdown passes on the day, he broke his own franchise record for the most in a season with 33.
During a season in which he has been much-maligned at times—he has 15 interceptions on the season and had eight over his previous five games coming into yesterday—Roethlisberger has had the Steelers’ offense scoring at an all-time high, and it has been mostly through the air as he is on the cusp of the franchise’s first 5000-yard passing season.
In 1979, the Steelers scored 52 touchdowns. They came into today’s game having scored 50, so the three put them over the top. They’ve now scored 412 points, an average of 27.5 points per game. That is slightly better than their record 2014 season in which they scored a total of 436 points, or 27.3 points per game. In order to set the record for the highest-scoring season in team history, they will have to score 25 points against the Cincinnati Bengals. That’s certainly doable.
They have scored over 25 points in eight of their first 15 games, including 28 when they faced the Bengals on the road earlier this season, and their defense is pretty banged up at this point in the year, with not much of an offense to match.
As for Roethlisberger, he has thrown for at least three touchdowns in five games this season, and scored at least three touchdowns in seven games when you include his rushing scores. The team is averaging just over one rushing score per game.
There are three seasons in Steelers history in which a quarterback has thrown for at least 30 touchdowns. Roethlisberger has all three of those marks, and each time he hit at least 32 touchdown passes, posting an average of two per game or better (depending on how many games he played).
He first hit 32 back in 2007 during a 15-game season for him, though he only attended 404 passes and threw for 3154 yards. In 2014, the second time he hit 32, he played all 16 games and attempted 608 passes for 4952 passing yards.
With the opportunity to still add to his total, Roethlisberger in 2018 has now completed 421 of 630 pass attempts (both new career-highs and team records), completing 66.8 percent of his passes, which is the third-highest mark of his career. He has thrown for 4842 yards, needing only 158 to reach 5000.
And now he has 33 touchdowns and counting, having thrown at least one in every game and more than one in 11 of 15. Where have they gone? 15 to Antonio Brown, six, to JuJu Smith-Schuster, four to Vance McDonald, three to Jaylen Samuels, two to Jesse James, and one apiece to James Conner, Ryan Switzer, and James Washington. Alejandro Villanueva also has a touchdown from Chris Boswell, because reasons.