Overcoming a sluggish start—he completed just five of his first 10 passes for 22 yards, averaging 2.2 yards per pass attempt—Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finished today’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals with his best overall performance of the season and in arguably the team’s most complete game so far.
When all was said and done, the 17th-year veteran fired off 46 passes without taking a sack, completing 27 of them for season highs of 333 passing yards and four touchdowns. For the seventh time this season, he did not throw an interception in a game—also the third game in a row.
Making this performance more notable is the fact that Roethlisberger did not even get on the field with his team this past week until Saturday’s walkthrough. He had spent the five previous days on the league’s Reseve/Covid-19 List as one of four players deemed high-risk close contacts of tight end Vance McDonald, who tested positive for the coronavirus and missed the game.
Given his ability to play at a high level basically without practice and attending virtual meetings, Roethlisberger, who admitted that he felt especially nervous coming into the game, said that it was a good time to get his arm some time off.
“My arm rested for the most part” during the week leading up to the game without being on the field and self-isolating”, he said after the game. “I spent a lot of the week icing”, he added. “Really just felt nice and rested coming into today, so I tried to talk Coach into seeing if I can take next week off, too”.
He was joking, of course, before anybody freaks out, but it is and has for a long time been clear that the 38-year old is well past the point in his career in which he needs a lot of practice reps to know what he is doing on the field, especially now that he has broken in his passing targets this year.
Through nine games, he has now completed 223 passes on 334 attempts (66.8 percent) for 2267 yards with 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He is on pace to complete 396 passes for 4024 yards 39 touchdowns and seven interceptions, which would certainly be in the argument for the best season of his career, even without the lavish yardage totals.
He has, however, been averaging 272 yards per game over the past four weeks. If he finishes the season on that pace, he will finish the season with nearly 4200 passing yards, which even today’s game is still a healthy figure, one that he has hit five times before, most recently in 2018 in his franchise-best 5129-yard season.