The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.
As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion
Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Was Sunday’s second half the performance Ben Roethlisberger needed to get things going again?
If there is one thing that can make or break a team, it is the performance of the quarterback position, and at least until the second half yesterday, the Steelers were not getting what they need out of Ben Roethlisberger of late.
Then came a second half in which he completed 23 of 29 passes for 243 yards, throwing three touchdowns across five meaningful drives—the first of which ended with a turnover on downs on a goal-to-go situation.
Of note is the fact that the Steelers had more success pushing the ball down the field in the second half, and they also did it more. Roethlisberger connected on two explosive-play touchdowns, including a 39-yarder to Diontae Johnson and the 25-yard go-ahead, game-winner to JuJu Smith-Schuster. They also drew a couple of defensive pass interference penalties.
It was great to see and it was enough to win yesterday’s game. But will it be enough to win in January and February? Or rather, is that the level of play that they will get from Roethlisberger going forward, or was that something of a fluke? Because if it’s not, they’re going to have a short postseason run.