Did Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have a great season in 2018? A good one? It depends on which numbers you choose to look at. The number that matters most is 9-6-1, the record that he led the Steelers to this year, which wasn’t good enough to make it to the playoffs.
At the same time, he threw for over 5000 yards, with 34 touchdown passes, both franchise records, and posted one of his highest completion percentages to boot. He also threw a league-leading 16 interceptions and lost a couple of fumbles, and he had justifications—or attempts at justifications—for many of those turnovers over the course of the season.
Roethlisberger was asked about the high volume of turnovers yesterday during his appearances on the radio yesterday on 93.7 The Fan, but he didn’t really go into too much detail about that topic specifically, which isn’t surprising.
“A season is filled with ebb and flow, right? Ups and downs. We had a bad start, we had a hot middle, it kind of fell off a little bit”, he said in recapping how the season unfolded. “We had a big win at home against New England, obviously, a close one in New Orleans, and then winning at home, which it stinks because that Cincinnati game still doesn’t even feel like a win even though we did”.
His turnovers certainly played a role in many of those losses—and the tie at the beginning of the year. Not every single interception that he threw was his fault, but he was also pretty lucky considering the number of passes that could have been intercepted but were not, something I’ll look into deeper next week.
“It’s tough because turnovers for me, and us as an offense, is a big thing”, he said. After Sunday’s game, he was asked to address the turnovers and went back to the gunslinger argument he’s been making since he threw an interception at the goal line in the loss to the Denver Broncos, so maybe he felt he already addressed it. So instead he redirected the conversation.
“You know, we improved in a lot of areas on offense. I think our red zone was one of the best in the NFL”, he said. “Our average starting position was [bad], and anytime the ball was inside our own 10-yard line, we set NFL records in terms of getting the ball out or scoring or moving the ball, things like that. so a lot of things to be encouraged with”.
While he’s not wrong about that, it’s also not unreasonable to expect him to practice better ball security. Speaking of the red zone offense, a good chunk of their failures in that area of the field can be traced to the fact that he threw four interceptions there.