Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots was the first of the year for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in which he was held to under 250 passing yards. Though he did manage to throw two touchdown passes, he was also intercepted twice. It wasn’t his best game of the year.
But though the offense only managed to produce 17 points in total, it certainly passed the eye test better than one would think just by looking at the scoreboard, as they were able to move the ball pretty well throughout the day.
One has to consider the fact that the Steelers only had eight total meaningful drives in the game (they had one more at the end of each half that consisted of a kneeldown), and on five of those drives, they gained over 50 yards, even as much as 92 yards. And they had no three-and-outs.
On of the reasons the offense was able to keep the ball moving, according to Roethlisberger, is because they were getting contributions from all over the field, with the majority of eligible players who were active in the game participating in some way.
“I thought [about] how well guys stepped up and played”, the quarterback said on his radio show. “It wasn’t like anybody on offense had this spectacular day in terms of yards or big plays or things like that. I say that with a little bit of an asterisk—I think Jaylen [Samuels] played awesome in terms of running the ball and making plays”.
Samuels, the rookie running back making his second start, was the exception as he compiled 172 yards of offense on 21 touches, including 142 rushing yards on 19 carries and 30 receiving yards on a pair of receptions.
“But it just felt like everybody contributed. It might not have been a spectacular day on anybody’s front, but it was a pretty good offensive day”, Roethlisberger went on. “And it sounds crazy, we didn’t score all the points we wanted to score and things like that, but just guys making plays, from James Washington, Eli Rogers coming back for the first time, Vance McDonald [had] two huge plays, especially the one on third down. You expect guys like JuJu and AB to make plays. [Ryan Switzer] making plays out of the backfield, doing things for us. [Stevan] Ridley getting a couple of huge runs for us. So I just think it was an all-around great day for everybody”.
During the game, no one player had more than four receptions nor more than 65 receiving yards. But eight different players were able to catch at least one pass and put up at least nine yards of offense. In terms of personnel, it was one of the most balanced games of the season for the offense, and is not represented well by their actual point total.