As he rounds the final corner of his illustrious career, Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is going out in frustrating fashion, sitting outside the top 20 of quarterbacks in the NFL, according to NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal.
Rosenthal, who puts together the weekly QB Index for the league’s flagship site, continues to remain rather low on Roethlisberger in regards to league rankings, keeping the veteran gunslinger at No. 22 in the Week 18 QB Index.
It’s quite fitting for Roethlisberger to remain outside the top 20 this week ahead of his final game in the NFL after making history — if you want to call it that — in his home finale against the Cleveland Browns. In the 26-14 win over the Browns, Roethlisberger set a new NFL mark for fewest passing yards in a game with more than 45 attempts.
“Roethlisberger spent much of his career strangely underrated, then hung on a year too long,” Rosenthal writes. “It happens. It was predictable to see his home swan song be a little touching, awkward and depressing all at the same time. Like Kobe in his last game, Roethlisberger put up a lot of shots (Kobe 50, Ben 46 passes). Unlike Kobe, that led to one of the worst statistical games of Ben’s career. No quarterback in NFL history has thrown for fewer yards (123) on at least 45 attempts.”
Roethlisberger certainly got his looks in for his home finale, but the production certainly wasn’t there. That’s a credit to the Browns, who played two-high safety all night long, taking away anything deep while forcing Roethlisberger to throw everything at or behind the line of scrimmage. Fortunately for the Steelers, rookie running back Najee Harris feasted on the light boxes from the Browns, rushing for a career 188 yards and the game-sealing 37-yard touchdown, keeping the Steelers alive in the AFC playoff picture.
Though Roethlisberger was never truly the problem with the Steelers’ offense throughout the 2021 season, he was never even close to the player he once was. He certainly had some flashes throughout the season, but it’s a bit sad and frustrating to see the future Hall of Famer close out his career ranked behind Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and Chicago’s Andy Dalton in the final QB Index of the 2021 season from Rosenthal.