Following the Houston Texans game two weeks ago, during which Ben Roethlisberger completed 23 of 36 pass attempts for 237 yards with two touchdown passes, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was hard on himself. When asked to evaluate his performance, he said that he’ll let reporters know when he feels like he’s actually played a good game.
While he would not give an overall evaluation of his play following today’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he did offer one criticism in particular, which has been an ongoing concern of his, that being his accuracy on his deep passes.
“I was still missing the deep ball too much, still overthrowing”, he told reporters earlier this afternoon following the 38-29 result. “I know last week I talked about it and said I’d rather overthrow it than underthrow it, but I’ve got to figure it out. I don’t know if my doc made my arm a little stronger or something, but I’ve got to figure out how to connect on those deep balls a little more”.
Roethlisberger, of course, has returned from a very serious elbow injury in which he suffered three torn tendons in his throwing arm that had to be surgically reattached. And it is true that, so far, when he is missing on the deep ball, it has been too long, instead of too short.
While his game has definitely lacked some from play-to-play consistency so far, and particularly with the deep-ball accuracy, his overall numbers have been fairly strong. Most importantly, he has thrown 10 touchdown passes through four games to just one interception. He has also completed 100 passes on 143 attempts for 1016 yards, completing 70 percent of his passes, though at just 7.1 yards per attempt, which you would like to see improve.
Against the Eagles, Roethlisberger completed 27 of 34 pass attempts for 239 yards with three touchdown passes, the second game this season in which he has thrown for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. We will have to get you the details of his deep passing statistics later on, but there were certainly a few misses down the field.
It’s not uncommon for him to struggle early on in the season with his deep ball accuracy and gradually improve over the course of the year, and that wouldn’t at all be surprising if it happens in a year in which he is adjusting to the mechanics of a new elbow, after playing with partially torn tendons for over a decade.
At the end of the day, the Steelers are 4-0 and making the plays that need to be made at the end of the game, so it’s hard to complain too much. If his play starts to be the difference between wins and losses, then we can talk, but it’s a lot better to be critical of a winning performance than of a losing one.