The Pittsburgh Steelers have a receiving corps that is a good four players deep, at least, as they begin to integrate Ray-Ray McCloud into the system as well. They have two receiving tight ends they’re still trying to figure out how to use. They are getting snaps to four different running backs.
How does a quarterback manage the demands for touches among all of these skill position players? According to Ben Roethlisberger, the simplest solution is to put up the one statistic that matters more than any other, and that is wins.
“I would say that the biggest stat is 3-0. I don’t think that anybody cares about their stats right now”, Roethlisberger told reporters earlier today. “No one is complaining. No one is coming to me”.
He also put the blame on himself as far as statistics go, suggesting that as he improves in his own game, by his own standards, so too will his skill players’ statistical output. “I’m not exactly playing lights out”, he said. “Their stats are directly reflected from the way I play”.
“If I’m not playing well, then their stats aren’t going to be very good. Obviously, some of their numbers are down because I’m not playing as well as I should be and need to be playing, but they are all contributing”, he continued.
So far through three games, Roethlisberger has completed 73 of 109 pass attempts for 777 yards with seven touchdown passes to one interception. Four different players have at least 100 receiving yards, with James Washington at 92. Five have been on the receiving end of a score, while six of scored altogether.
“There’s a lot of guys who have their hand in the pile, if you will, and are making plays for us”, the quarterback noted, “and it seems like it’s someone different every week. We’ve got some guys that we can depend on all the time and some new guys are making plays. The ball is getting spread around. That’s what makes it fun is everybody is involved, and everybody is involved in winning the football game, and at the end of the day, that is our only priority”.
There are no doubt some things that can still be fine-tuned within the offense, though they seem to have improved on third and fourth down after struggling in that area in week two against the Broncos, having set themselves up too often with 3rd-and-long scenarios.
They have scored at least 26 points in every game so far this year, which is notable because they only did that four times in 2019, with 27 points being the most they managed in any game. The fact that Roethlisberger continues to be so hard on himself for his own performance is encouraging, as is everybody seemingly buying in to the greater whole rather than worrying about their own numbers.