A lot has been made this offseason about the deep passing woes of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ion the heels of his 2020 season. Let it be known, however, that Roethlisberger did take his fair share of deep pass shots of 20 or more yards down the field in 2020. In fact, only three other quarterbacks attempted more of those throws than Roethlisberger did in 2020. The biggest issue when it came to Roethlisberger’s deep pass attempts of 20 yards or longer in 2020 was that he completed just 30.3% of them.
Today, however, I want to shift the focus on Roethlisberger’s 2020 passes that traveled 10-15 yards because that’s a distance that not a lot of people talk about and one that the Steelers quarterback really had issues with.
To start with some context, Roethlisberger was just 50.7% on throws 10-15 yards past the line of scrummage in 2020 and that was on 75 total pass attempts, according to Sports Info Solutions. How bad is that 50.7% completion percentage? Well. of the 15 NFL quarterbacks that attempted at least 70 pass attempts of 10-15 yards in 2020, Roethlisberger ranked 14th in completion percentage. To add more context, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was ranked 13th with a 55.8% completion rate while Carson Wentz, who was with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020, ranked 15th with a 47.4% completion rate.
Because Roethlisberger had such a poor completion percentage on throws of 10-15 yards past the line of scrimmage in 2020, I figured I would take the time to go through each one of his incompletions, 37 in total, to see how many were on him and if his overall play on those throws was as bad as his percentage says. I’m glad I did that and below is the contextualized data of all 37 incompletions of throws deemed 10-15 yards past the line of scrimmage by SIS.
The first thing that should stick out to everyone is the fact that seven of these incompletions were the result of the targets dropping the football. I reached out to several of our site contributors on these as well so as to not let my own subjectiveness rule. Excusing Roethlisberger on those seven incompletions makes a huge difference in what his overall completion percentage should have been on throws 10-15 yards down the field in 2020.
In addition to those seven dropped passes, there were two other incompletions that included the target slipping and falling to the ground when the football was in the air. Four other players included some type of miscommunication between Roethlisberger and his intended target. Three other incompletions were clear throwaways by Roethlisberger. Two others were tipped passes at the line of scrimmage and two other incompletions included Roethlisberger being hit as he was in the act of throwing.
Now, Roethlisberger did have some incompletions that were the result of his throws being off target or overall bad decisions on his part. a few others were incomplete because the defender got to connection point in time to break it up. In short, Roethlisberger was far from percent on these 37 total incompletions.
In closing, my overarching takeaway after contextualizing these 37 incompletions is that Roethlisberger’s supporting cast played a big role in the quarterback’s completion percentage being so low. Quite honestly, one can easily argue that Roethlisberger adjusted completion percentage on these 75 total attempts should be around 65%, which would have ranked him fourth overall on the list of 15 quarterbacks I mentioned earlier in this post.
Can Roethlisberger get his completion percentage back to 62% or better in 2021 on throws of 10-15 yards down the field? He’ll certainly need to if the Steelers offense expects have any sort of consistent play in 2021. Based on what I saw in Roethlisberger’s 2020 tape on such throws, he should be able to get back to at least a 62% completion rate on such throws in 2021 as long as supporting cast improves on the receiving end of such throws.
|1||Giants||2||10:02||1||10||NYG 13||Broken Play||D.Johnson||I||Throwaway|
|2||Broncos||2||9:38||1||10||DEN 46||Broken Play||V.McDonald||I||Miscommunication|
|2||Broncos||2||9:29||3||10||DEN 46||Dig||J.Washington||I||Batted Down LOS|
|3||Texans||3||10:44||2||15||HOU 15||Broken Play||J.Conner||I||Drop|
|3||Texans||3||2:16||3||8||PIT 45||Curl||C.Claypool||I||Pass Break Up|
|5||Eagles||4||3:07||2||8||PHI 35||Slant||E.Ebron||I||Pass Break Up|
|7||Titans||1||7:55||1||10||TEN 11||Fade Back Shoulder||D.Johnson||I||Miscommunication|
|7||Titans||2||2:59||3||5||TEN 20||Wheel||J.Smith-Schuster||I||Good Coverage|
|7||Titans||3||10:33||3||7||TEN 12||Post||E.Ebron||I||Off Target|
|7||Titans||3||0:58||2||10||PIT 39||Curl||D.Johnson||I||WR Slipped & Fell|
|7||Titans||4||7:35||2||7||PIT 26||Curl||J.Smith-Schuster||I||Pass Break Up|
|7||Titans||4||6:31||1||10||TEN 39||Fade Back Shoulder||D.Johnson||I||Miscommunication|
|9||Cowboys||1||14:17||2||7||PIT 29||Curl||D.Johnson||I||WR Slipped & Fell|
|9||Cowboys||4||7:18||3||7||DAL 24||Post||C.Claypool||I||Tipped LOS|
|10||Bengals||1||4:57||3||6||CIN 12||Fade||E.Ebron||I||Off Target|
|10||Bengals||3||4:31||1||10||CIN 11||Broken Play||J.Smith-Schuster||I||Off Target|
|11||Jaguars||2||10:56||3||8||JAX 26||Comeback||D.Johnson||I||Pass Break Up|
|11||Jaguars||4||12:48||1||10||PIT 44||Fade Back Shoulder||D.Johnson||I||Good Coverage|
|12||Ravens||1||11:57||3||5||PIT 23||Dig||E.Ebron||I||Hit While Throwing|
|12||Ravens||3||3:12||1||10||PIT 39||Seam||E.Ebron||I||Hit While Throwing|
|13||Football Team||2||11:27||2||7||WAS 11||Seam||E.Ebron||I||Drop|
|14||Bills||2||5:08||3||9||PIT 28||Post||J.Washington||I||Good Coverage|
|14||Bills||2||1:07||1||10||PIT 42||Out||C.Claypool||I||Pass Break Up|
|15||Bengals||1||3:48||3||7||PIT 28||Curl||D.Johnson||I||Pass Break Up|
|15||Bengals||1||1:39||1||10||PIT 45||Slant||C.Claypool||I||Bad Decision|
|15||Bengals||2||6:01||3||14||CIN 48||Dig||J.Smith-Schuster||IN||Bad Decision|
|15||Bengals||3||6:58||1||10||CIN 10||Broken Play||C.Claypool||I||Off Target|
|15||Bengals||4||1:56||4||10||PIT 24||Post||J.Washington||I||Off Target|
|16||Colts||2||6:35||1||10||PIT 25||Deep Cross||E.Ebron||I||Bad Decision|