When Ben Roethlisberger left the 2019 season in Week 2 with a season-ending elbow injury, fans were unsure what No. 7 would look like when he returned. Rust is inevitable, but will he look like the 2018 Roethlisberger, or a shell of his former self?
So far, the Steelers signal caller has been about as good as anyone could expect, all things considered. Sure, there are areas where Roethlisberger could improve, but look at his statistics through three games:
Yards: 777 (18th)
Attempts: 109 (T-10th)
Completion %: 67% (T-20th)
TDs: 7 (T-5)
Sacks: 5 (T-18)
Long Pass: 84 yards (1st)
Those are pretty solid numbers for Roethlisberger through three games. In fact, I would go a step further and suggest if you asked Steelers fans prior to Week 1 if you would be happy with Roethlisberger completing nearly 70% of his passes, 7 touchdowns to 1 interception and a 3-0 record, would you have said yes?
I know I would have!
Then again there are areas of Roethlisberger’s game which can still improve, and recently Pro Football Focus (PFF) went through all starting quarterbacks and stated their biggest weaknesses.
Check out what they said about Ben Roethlisberger below:
Biggest weakness: Intermediate passing
There’s been a subtle decline to parts of Roethlisberger’s game, even starting in 2018 during his 5,000-yard passing season. His 67.8 passing grade on intermediate (10-19-yard) throws since 2018 ranks just 39th out of 47 qualifiers, and that’s an area in which he used to dominate. His decision-making has been poor, as well. Roethlisberger has 12 turnover-worthy throws in that area of the field, tied for 14th in the NFL despite him missing almost all of 2019.
The intermediate passing is certainly one which has been evident with Roethlisberger throughout the 2020 season, but the most glaring, and most recent, issue has been deep ball accuracy.
In the Steelers’ Week 3 game vs. the Houston Texans Roethlisberger missed on a few deep passes where his receiver had a step on the defender. The passes weren’t underthrown, something many would assume after Roethlisberger’s elbow surgery, but were overthrown.
You can tell this is certainly one of the areas Roethlisberger still has get get dialed in before labeling himself as “back”. When you think about him overthrowing receivers, you have to wonder if all the reports of his arm being stronger than before weren’t just doctors and trainers toeing the company line, but fact.
In the meantime, Roethlisberger will continue to improve as the season progresses, and the next challenge lies in the Philadelphia Eagles who invade Heinz Field in Week 5. Can Roethlisberger take the next step in his recovery and put it to the Steelers’ cross-state rivals? Only time will tell, but be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they progress through the 2020 regular season.