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Ben Roethlisberger will have fewer than 600 attempts in 2021

In the new “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2021.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Ben Roethlisberger will have fewer than 600 attempts in 2021

Ben Roethlisberger’s career attempts when playing at least 15 games:
2006: 469
2007: 404
2008: 469
2009: 506
2011: 513
2013: 584
2014: 608
2017: 561
2018: 675
2020: 608

Why it will happen: When it comes to Ben Roethlisberger’s attempts, you have to factor in a lot of things when trying to decipher that number. You have to consider how pass happy the Steelers have been in the past, but you also have to see the writing on the wall as it pertains to the direction of the offense under Matt Canada. Not only did they draft Najee Harris in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but the projected offensive line is anything but a dominant pass blocking group. This isn’t to suggest they can’t pass block, but it is blatantly obvious they are more suited for run blocking. When you consider the team potentially having a run-first approach, it would severely cut back on Roethlisberger’s attempts. History tells us the less Roethlisberger has to throw, the more successful the Steelers are as a team. This scenario coming to fruition could be just what the doctor ordered for Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense.

Why it won’t happen: We can discuss the offensive line and new coordinator until we are blue in the face, but there are two factors which come into play that cannot be ignored.

The 17th game and Roethlisberger’s desire to win it through the air.

Matt Canada might not want to throw the ball to win, but don’t think Roethlisberger won’t be calling for Randyland 2.0 if the team is struggling on the ground. When you consider Roethlisberger also will have another game, if he stays healthy, to put up another 35+ attempts, this scenario might be a tough sell.

Prediction: Roethlisberger is a quarterback in the waning years of his career, and if he was smart he would take a page from this childhood idol’s book, John Elway, and ride a running game en route to the playoffs. If Fichtner was still the coordinator this would be a no-brainer...it isn’t going to happen. But with Canada in place, you have to hold out hope Roethlisberger will see value in using the ground game to alleviate the pressure off him to always win the game with his arm. It isn’t as if he can’t still win the game by throwing the ball, but it isn’t always necessary. With that said, if Roethlisberger stays healthy, I find it tough to consider Roethlisberger staying under 600 attempts with a 17th game. I would actually predict him to be right around 600, and if he plays in all 17 games that should be considered a win for the Steelers offense.


Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.