Today’s game marked Ben Roethlisberger’s 220th game in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers, trying Mike Webster for the most in team history. His 218 starts continue to extend his own team record. While he has a long way to go in terms of NFL history in this area, however, he climbed the leader boards in key passing stats, passing Eli Manning for positioning on multiple records.
Roethlisberger entered today’s game with 366 passing touchdowns and 56,774 passing yards for his career. He finished the game completing 29 of 41 pass attempts for 311 yards and two touchdowns, leaving him with 368 career passing touchdowns and now 57,085 passing yards.
Both numbers saw him pass Manning, who was the first-overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, and who retired after the 2019 season. He is now seventh all-time in passing yards and eighth in passing touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers entered the day with 368 passing touchdowns, but finished his game with two, so remains in front of Big Ben.
Ben Roethlisberger has passed Eli Manning for 7th most career passing yards in NFL history! pic.twitter.com/zxmYQswL4c
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2020
In fact, four of the seven players in NFL history who have thrown more touchdown passes than him are moving targets. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are well out of reach unless he plans on playing into his 50s, as both have more than 540. Rodgers, as mentioned, now has 370, while Philip Rivers has 399.
The only target he really even has a shot of hitting this year is surpassing Rodgers, but they would likely at best flip-flop back and forth with each other. Ahead of Rivers is Dan Marino with 420 passing touchdowns, an unrealistic milestone for 2020.
In terms of passing yards, that one would be awfully difficult to manage as well, as, again, his next nearest mark is a moving target. Rivers has 59,848 passing yards after today’s game, nearly 3000 yards ahead of Roethlisberger. And Marino’s 61,361 yards are 4276 more than where Roethlisberger is with 14 games to play.
That’s not an impossibility—he has thrown for over 4900 yards in a season twice, including 5129 yards as recently as 2018—but it’s not easy to do. He is currently on pace for 4320 passing yards this season, averaging 270 yards per game over the first two weeks.
Needless to say, Roethlisberger has long surpassed Terry Bradshaw in these categories. Bradshaw finished his career with 27,989 passing yards and 212 touchdowns. Big Ben is still closing in on his 210 interceptions, however, now with 192 after the one he threw today (and he nearly threw two).
Kordell Stewart, Neil O’Donnell, and Bubby Brister are the only other quarterbacks with at least 10,000 career passing yards. Stewart’s 70 passing touchdowns are third-most. In other words, outside of Big Ben and Bradshaw, which admittedly accounts for getting near 30 decades over the past 50 years, they haven’t had much under center.