Let's take a look at how some of the more marquee offensive players on the Pittsburgh Steelers have fared over their respective careers in the playoffs.
WILLIE PARKER (4 games):
Totals: 57 rushes, 225 yards, 3.9 ypc, 2 TDs
Career Game: Super Bowl 40; 10 carries, 91 yards, 1 TD
Interesting Fact #1: Parker's 75 yard touchdown at Ford Field in Detroit two Super Bowls ago was the longest run in SB history. It will forever be etched into the lore of the Steelers for generations to come.
The longest run in SB history, punctuated by a sommersault into the end zone
Interesting Fact #2: Parker caught 3 passes in each of his first 3 playoff games in 2005. Considering Parker's career high for a season in receptions is 31 in 2006, it's interesting that he was a target of Ben's that frequently during the playoff run. I don't honestly remember if the receptions came in the form of checkdowns, screens, or what not, but I do believe that both he and Mewelde Moore will need to make an impact in both pass blocking and pass catching if the team is going to string together some offensive consistency this year.
I say that because when Ben's checking down, he's often time avoiding the mistakes that can be so paralyzing to success.
BEN ROETHLISBERGER (7 games, 5-2):
Totals: 118 of 189 (62.4%), 1547 yards, 13 TDs, 12 INTs, 8.2 YPA, 85.1 QB Rating
Career Game: AFC Conf Championship game 2005 @ Denver; 21 of 29 (72.4%), 275 Yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 9.5 YPA,124.9 QB Rating.
Interesting Fact #1: Like he has been for much of his career, Ben Roethlisberger has been a feast or famine type of quarterback in his postseason appearances. As a rookie, Big Ben won his opening game against the Jets, but his rating was under 60 and he threw 2 picks in the W. The following week against New England, Ben threw 3 more INTs.
The following year, Ben was amazing in the opening three rounds of the playoffs vs, Cincy, Indy and Denver. He threw 7 TDs to just 1 INT en route to winning the AFC. Teams were looking run all the way, and OC Ken Whisenhunt called on Ben to put the Steelers ahead early with the passing game. He did just that, jumping out to leads early in both the Indy and Denver games.
Interesting Fact #2: Ben is averaging 26.45 pass attempts per game during for his career during the regular season. He is averaging 27 pass attempts per game in his 7 playoff games.
Interesting Fact #3: In his two career playoff losses, Ben has throw 3 INTs in both games. In his 5 career Ws, Ben has thrown no more than 2 INTs and averaged just 1 INT per game. Moral of the story? Protect the ball Ben and I like our chances!
HINES WARD (11 games)
Totals: 67 receptions, 896 yards, 13.4 YPC, 8 TDs, 6.6 receptions/game
Career Game #1: Wild Card 2002-03; 11 catches, 104 yards, 9.5 YPC, 1 TD
Interesting Fact #1: Ward has 3 career playoff games with 10+ catches. That's 3 more games with 10+ catches than Terrell Owens, who has also appeared in 11 career playoff games
Interesting Fact #2: Ward's YPC, Receptions Per Game, and Yards Per Game are all way up in the playoffs over his regular season career averages. Hines Ward a big game player? Who would have guessed.
Interesting Fact #3: As I mentioned, Ward has 3 career games with 10+ catches in the playoffs, and 5 career games with 100+ receiving yards. Thus, with nearly half of his postseason games being extremely productive, it's hard to say which game was the best. The most meaningful would obviously be the SB, where he caught 5 passes for 125 yards and 1 TD, including that legendary TD catch thrown by Antwaan Randle El.