Steelers Game Against The Chiefs Featured Roethlisberger Going Vertical More

Following the preseason opener against the New York Giants, I posted the pass distances of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In that game, Roethlisberger’s average pass length of the seven passes he threw was 5.57 yards as the offense was clearly working on the shorter passing game.

In the game Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, Roethlisberger was allowed to go vertical a lot more. Of his 19 passes thrown, seven of them were traveled 16 or more yards past the line of scrimmage. In fact, his average distance in that game wound up being 10.79 yards.

This is certainly a good sign and as I pointed out earlier on Wednesday, Roethlisberger was especially great in the game when using play action.

Last season the offense was labeled as being a dink and dunk one and it was obvious that offensive coordinator Todd Haley needed to add more vertical elements to it this season. While it is hard to draw any conclusions from one meaningless preseason game, it’s hard to imagine that Roethlisberger won’t be allowed to push the ball up the field more in 2013 much in the same way he was allowed to do under former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

I am not suggesting that the offense will be as wide open as Arians’ was, but at least the depth of the routes and the combinations used against the Chiefs gives us some hope that Roethlisberger will be able to go a little more vertical than he did last season.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think too many fans don’t do a good job of saying WHY Arians was not their favorite OC.

    For me, it wasn’t how we ran the ball. It wasn’t how the offense functioned, although I thought the bubble screen had become predictable.

    To me, BA never seemed to have a plan or an overall approach. He seemed to go into games thinking…I can run these plays against this team. He would go a nice first script, but really didn’t seem to know what he wanted to do after that. So, sometimes it worked….sometimes it didn’t. When those approved plays didn’t work…he didn’t seem to know how to adjust.

  • Wayne Darby

    And by the second half the other teams figure it out and the offense would stall. Thus losing games late.

  • Bilge

    And going to two Super Bowls with him as the OC.

  • Jason

    And also even though he and Ben were pals he sure didn’t take any precautions to keep him from getting killed. I know some will site this years preseason pass protection to debunk my point but Ben was hit far less in his first 8 games in the “dink and dunk” offense last year than at any point under BA. I think sometimes on 3rd and 15 we complain about Haley’s draw plays but it could be him knowing this line simply can’t protect Ben in obvious passing 3rd and forever situations when the D is pinning their ears back or he could just be too conservative. Sometimes under BA Ben would make a play in those situations but more often he was sacked. I saw an interview with Indy HC Chuck Pagano yesterday and he said the main goal of the offense is to run the ball better and get Luck hit less. Sound familiar? Who was Indy’s OC last year? Just my opinion and for the record I haven’t made up my mind on Haley and didn’t hate BA.

  • Jason White

    Also keep in mind that under Haley’s Dink and Dunk offense Ben was the best at converting 3rd downs and quite a few of those were 3rd and very long. A vertical game mixed with the short game will work wonders especially if the ground game gets going.

  • Jason



    Also agreed. Mix it up. More manageable 3rd downs will help Ben not getting killed. He’s not the type of QB who will throw for 5 yards on 3rd and 10. He will hold the ball and try to convert a 1st.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Yes we went to 2 Super Bowls with BA as the OC. Nobody forgets that. The question remains though….because of vs. in spite of?

  • Kenneth Wilt

    If we can have a consistent game plan this year where we can get 4-5 yards a majority of the time (nobody does it every time, it isn’t possible) on first down or even on 2nd down, this OLine will get instantly better in 3rd down situations. 5 yards is short enough that a draw can get you a first down, yet a pass could do more damage. It will keep the D on their feet. I look forward to watching this offense really develop moving forward.