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Steelers Film Room: Ben Roethlisberger's incredible precision on third down conversions

Ben Roethlisberger did not throw a touchdown against the Bengals in week 14, but the Steelers' offense was 8/14 on third downs with several of those conversions helping them get into scoring position.

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David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger did not have his best game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he showed just how good he can be even when he's not at his best.

Roethisberger went 30/39 for 282 yards and an interception, but several of his completions were what positioned Pittsburgh to score 33 points (26 offensively) against a defense that had yielded the lowest amount of points per game prior to week 14.

We take a look at some of Roethlisberger's better early completions that helped the Steelers get into scoring position on third down.

First Play:

Often Roethlisberger goes deep on third down and short in an effort to both force the defense to respect all aspects of their plays and to show trust in his talented receiving corps. Here he takes his time, despite having Heath Miller as an option for a potential conversion in a more open space, and goes for Markus Wheaton who has beaten his man down the sideline. The perfect pass and route show that the Steelers can beat you multiple ways.

Second Play:

Roethlisberger knows he has the NFL's best receiver in Antonio Brown, and this play is another testiment as to why he has earned that title. Brown is locked up tight with Bengals' veteran defensive back, Leon Hall, and puts a quick move to shake Hall off and be wide open in the middle of the field. Ben reads it and the two get the Steelers inside the five yard line.

Third Play:

Here, Roethlisberger's chemistry with another Steeler shows, and it's his longest teammate on the Steelers' offense in Heath Miller. It's third down and the Bengals are not trying to give Pittsburgh any space to work with and it makes for no easy throws for Roethlisberger on his first reads. Instead, the experience of Miller allows him to shake off his man and open up a solid window for Roethlisberger to target over the middle of the field for another third down conversion.


The Steelers were not perfect by any means on Sunday against the Bengals, but they did exhibit their ability to keep drives alive in difficult situations. Roethlisberger is an elite quarterback that can read defenses on the pre-snap and adjust after the play in order to buy time for his talented teammates to get open and make plays. These were just some of the examples in a game where there were many others, but still was not the team at it's ceiling. Look for clutch plays like these if the Steelers want to move the ball against the Denver Broncos in Week 15.

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