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Crunching the Numbers: 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Stats

A comparison of the Steelers’ 2018 passing statistics to past seasons and the rest of the league.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports


For the first time in his career, Ben Roethlisberger eclipsed the 5,000-yard barrier for a single season. His 5,129 yards places him 7th all time behind Peyton Manning (5,477), Drew Brees (four times), and Tom Brady. This season marked the 10th and 11th time a player reached 5,000 yards in a season because Patrick Mahomes also threw for 5,097 yards. Roethlisberger and Mahomes are the 6th and 7th players to join the elite 5,000-yard club which began with Dan Marino (5,084) in 1984.


Although Ben Roethlisberger hit the important 5,000-yard mile stone, he becomes only the second player in NFL history to reach this mark while his team did not make the playoffs. Drew Brees is the other quarterback in this category in three of the five seasons in which he threw for over 5,000 yards.


Although he led the league in passing yards, Ben Roethlisberger had the unfortunate distinction of leading the league in interceptions with 16. It should be noted this was the lowest total which led the league since the strike-shortened season on 1982. To put this number in perspective, it is only two more interceptions than 2017 when Ben played in one less game and threw 114 fewer passes.


With Josh Dobb’s one interception against the Raiders, the Steelers totaled 17 picks on the season. This mark places them tied with Cleveland for the 6th-most in the league. Of the teams in the top 15 in interceptions thrown, only the Steelers, Colts (t-9th), and Broncos (t-9th) were teams who had the same quarterback start all 16 games.


While on the subject of interceptions, it is important to note Ben Roethlisberger threw on average exactly one interception for every game in which he started in 2018. In looking at all 53 quarterbacks who started a game in the NFL this season, Rothlisberger is tied for 18th in interceptions per start. If narrowing it down to players that started at least four games, Roethlisberger would be tied for 9th.


Ben Roethlisberger also led the NFL in completed passes in 2018 with 452. Only three other times has there been more completions in the regular season, and each time it was accomplished by Drew Brees. Payton Manning is the only other quarterback to hit the 450 completion mark, reaching it exactly in two different seasons. So of all the players with at least 450 completions in a season, Ben is the only one who has only done it once. His next closest was 408 in 2014.


Ben Roethlisberger finished 2018 with the third-highest completion percentage of his career with 66.67%. Although this percentage this season places him ahead of quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, and Aaron Rodgers, it’s still only 14th in the league among quarterbacks who had at least 50 pass attempts. The leaders for 2018 of Drew Brees (74.44%) and Nick Foles (72.31%) not only were first and second this season, they are the top two in NFL history.