Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had only an extended walkthrough practice on Saturday to work in-person with his teammates prior to Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. In spite of that, and after overcoming a slow start, he finished the game with some of his best numbers of the season, completing 27 of 46 pass attempts for 333 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions and no sacks.
After the game, Roethlisberger joked that he was going to lobby for another week off from head coach Mike Tomlin, knowing, of course, full well that that would never happen. “We did have that conversation”, Tomlin said earlier today. “I’ll acknowledge it was a very brief one, and I’ll see him at practice on Thursday”, a remark that was met with laughter.
Roethlisberger, of course, very frequently does minimal to no work during Wednesday practices as it is, so this is not a change. Basically, Tomlin playing into the joke. Everybody knew all along that the quarterback would be practicing.
But Roethlisberger did say after the game on Sunday that his army “felt really, really good” when he finally did throw some balls on Friday, giving it an extra day of rest than he normally gets. “I knew coming in, I just felt rested”, he said. “It’s not that I throw a lot on Thursday and Friday, but literally to take Thursday off and Friday, I probably threw 50 passes, that’s about it”.
With the Steelers not having a bye week any time soon and their having two games to play within four days of each other, perhaps it was a minor blessing in disguise that this happened, give take some throws off of that arm.
“It was really, really important at this time of year, kind of the midway point, if you will, to let the arm rest”, Roethlisberger also said on Sunday. “It definitely felt good going into this game, and I’m hoping it’s because of the time off and a lot of icing this week”.
The closest thing he will get to rest for the remainder of the season, unless they are able to lock up the number one seed and secure a first-round playoff bye—which, given that they have the best record in the NFL, is doable—will be following the Baltimore Ravens game next Thursday, so he will get some rest then.
With or without rest, Roethlisberger is having one of the better seasons of his career. Through nine games, he is completing nearly 67 percent of his passes and has thrown for 2267 yards, 22 touchdowns, and just four interceptions, posting the second-highest touchdown percentage and lowest interception percentage of his career.