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Steelers First Half Awards: Offensive MVP quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

A top five passer in major categories, Roethlisberger's value is more in getting production out of the entire offense.

Jared Wickerham

On a Steelers team that has won three straight after a 2-3 start to the 2012 season, there haven't been many players who, statistically, have been among his peers at the top of his respective positions.

That's not the only reason why Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the team's First Half MVP on the offensive side of the ball.

It's mostly because those individual contributors, who may not lead the NFL in catches or rushing yards, have all been good if not great because of Roethlisberger.

His passing has been crisp, top to bottom, with few mistakes. He's the best in the game on third down (8-for-9 with a touchdown on third downs in Week 9's 24-20 win over the Giants), and is among the top five in the NFL in passer rating (101.1), touchdowns (16) and completion percentage (67.1).

This team has adopted a "Next Man Up" philosophy this season, something that started back in training camp. Veterans like Max Starks, James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall and Casey Hampton all missed training camp with injuries, and are playing their way back into shape now. The Steelers released a boatload of veteran leadership this offseason. The Steelers put that on Roethlisberger's plate, along with a new offensive coordinator, and asked him to lead the team.

He's done that and then some. He's probably the one exception right now to the "Next Man Up" theory - if he's out the Steelers are in serious trouble.