If you’ve been paying attention the lsat few years, the general consensus from the national media regarding Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been that the 39-year-old quarterback is completely washed up and does not provide the Steelers with the best chance to win week-to-week.
That narrative continues weekly in NFL.com’s QB Index, written by Gregg Rosenthal, one of the most respected minds out there today. Roethlisberger certainly hasn’t helped his case here and there this season, but placing No. 25 on Rosenthal’s weekly ranking doesn’t seem quite right.
According to Rosenthal’s ranking for Week 7, Roethlisberger is slotted in between Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa — who could soon be traded — and Washington Football Team’s Tua Tagovailoa, who was selling insurance midway through last season before getting a job and running with it.
My, how the mighty have fallen.
“Sunday night was an example of this Steelers passing game working well, which is a sign of its lowered ceiling,” Rosenthal writes. “Big Ben threw a handful of good balls to Diontae Johnson and had only one killer mistake, yet the team needed overtime to put up 23 points and 345 yards against a slumping defense. Once a YPA king, Roethlisberger averaged 5.7 yards per throw and now ranks 29th out of 32 qualifiers this season. If T.J. Watt didn’t win the game for the Steelers, a tie felt inevitable.”
Without his trademark mobility and ability to extend the plays in the pocket, Roethlisberger has been forced to get the ball off quickly to avoid pressure and unnecessary wear and tear to his body, not to mention playing behind a rebuilt offensive line that has struggled to protect at times this season.
Having him this low on the QB Index this week though feels like a slap in the face, especially when you consider he’s beneath guys like Denver’s Teddy Bridgewater (No. 18) who he just outperformed two weeks ago, Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts (No. 21) and San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo (No. 23).
Hurts has the only real argument to be over Roethlisberger out of that trio due to the threat he brings with his legs as a running option.
Despite his strong performance Sunday night against the Seahawks, in which he had some of his best throws of the season and helped the Steelers stay ahead of the chains throughout the night, Roethlisberger dropped one spot in Rosenthal’s rankings.
Granted, the Steelers’ ceiling as an offense is certainly capped with the quick throws and the 10-yards-and-in completions, but Roethlisberger can still win some games for the Steelers, and should be higher on this list. I’m not saying he should be top 15 or anywhere near the top 10, but he’s still a top 20 quarterback at this stage of his career.