Steelers quarterback plagued by spotty play
When Ben Roethlisberger has been good, he's been real good this year. But when he has been bad, he's been real bad — and it hasn't been unusual to see both happen in the same game.
Even though Roethlisberger is on pace to surpass his career averages in yards, touchdown attempts and completions, his inconsistent play has led the highly regarded Steelers offense to sputter at times through the first six games.
"We all have been up and down, just not the quarterback," receiver Antonio Brown said. "In the process of us being up and down, we are still 4-2."
The Steelers are 4-2 and a half-game behind first-place Baltimore in the AFC North heading into Sunday's game at Arizona, and Roethlisberger's play hasn't been a concern with the coaching staff.
That includes his accuracy.
Roethlisberger is completing 62 percent of his passes, but he has missed some easy throws over the first six weeks.
"Accuracy is not an issue," quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner said. "He has always been a very accurate quarterback ... I wouldn't look too much into that. It is a lot of who you play, circumstances of when you are throwing it, situations like third-and-long. The thing about Ben is that he always gives you a chance."
Just two years ago, Roethlisberger completed a franchise-record 66.6 percent of his throws. In fact, Roethlisberger owns the top four completion percentage numbers in franchise history and seven of the top 10, making this year's erratic accuracy unusual.
"I just know how important it is to him, but more importantly, he wants to make plays and the plays he should make," Fichtner said.
Roethlisberger has played like a Pro Bowl quarterback at times and like a rookie during others - sometimes during the same game.
> > Roethlisberger threw three interceptions against Baltimore and had a 52.9 passer rating. The next week, he completed 80 percent of his first-half passes against Seattle in leading the Steelers to a 17-0 halftime lead.
> > He threw for 364 yards in a win over Indianapolis, followed that with a stinker in Houston when he completed 53 percent, then was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after tying a franchise-high with five touchdown passes against Tennessee the following week.
It hasn't been limited to game-by-game, either. At times, the inconsistencies can be traced from half-to-half.
> > Roethlisberger's first-half completion percentage is the second highest of his career (65.4); his second-half percentage is second lowest (58.2).
> > Roethlisberger helped the Steelers to a 17-3 halftime lead with his 113.8 passer rating against Jacksonville last week, but was fortunate to have had three potential interceptions dropped by the Jaguars.
"I guess it's good that we are 4-2 and playing inconsistent football," Roethlisberger said. "If we were 2-4 or 0-6, I think we would have some issues."
Fichtner knows that Roethlisberger is — and has been — invaluable to the offense, especially with things that go unnoticed.
"He is good at back-shoulder throws, he is good at throwing away from coverage; he is good at letting a guy have a chance to make a play even though he is covered," Fichtner said. "Those are the things that you look for out of your quarterback."
And, of course, winning games, too.
"We are winning the games, so we aren't going to complain right now," Roethlisberger said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers defense a long way from ‘greatest of all time’
- Steelers remain confident in ground game
- NFL notebook: Cardinals RB Dwyer arrested on assault charges
- Steelers notebook: Former lineman Kemoeatu receives kidney from brother
- Panthers defensive end Hardy placed on exempt list
- Steelers’ Roethlisberger still hurting after hard hit from Ravens’ Upshaw
- Steelers notebook: RT Gilbert not in danger of losing his job
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up
- Steelers not receiving big returns on their offseason investments
- Big Ben’s struggles emblematic of loss
- Steelers’ Brown combats disruptive defensive ploys