By Matthew Marczi
Though he didn’t have his most prolific game of the season in the victory over the Green Bay Packers, Ben Roethlisberger managed to surpass 4000 passing yards in a season for just the third time in his career—a mark that appears to be taken as a given now for elite quarterbacks.
Roethlisberger previously reached the 4000-yard threshold in 2011 and in 2009, with his career-high coming in 2009 at 4328 yards. His 167 passing yards against Green Bay brings him to a total of 4082 yards through the air on the season, which is now the second-highest total of his career, with one more game to add to it.
He will need 247 yards in the season finale in order to break his own franchise record. He averages 272 yards through the air per game this season, and has thrown for over 250 yards in a game seven times this year, so there is certainly a strong chance that he can extend his own franchise mark.
This will also be just the second time in his career that Roethlisberger has played a full 16-game season, having previously done so when the Pittsburgh Steelers won their last Super Bowl in the 2008-2009 season, when he was sacked 46 times.
Once on pace this season to blow past the 50 sacks he took in 2009, the protection has improved and the quick passing has limited the sacks he’s taken in recent weeks, and he currently has 41 through 15 games, which is helping to keep him from missing time.
The missed time has twice kept him from hitting that 4000-yard marker in the past five years—he’s reached it in the other three.
Last season, Roethlisberger was forced to sit out three games with an injury, limiting him to 3265 yards in 13 games. That would have given him 4018 yards pro-rated over a full season, not including the half-game he missed in the game that knocked him out.
In 2010, he began the season with a four-game suspension, yet he finished with 3200 yards. Maintaining that yards-per-game average, he would have finished the year with 4267 yards.
With his two touchdown passes against the Packers, Roethlisberger now has 27 on the year, which is the second-most he’s ever thrown. He had 32 touchdown passes in 2007, but it’s unlikely that he finishes the year with a five-touchdown game.
He has twice before thrown 26 touchdowns in a season—most recently last season. Averaging two touchdowns per game, the three games he missed that year could have seen him tie his career-high.
Also worth noting is that he already passed his career-highs in passing attempts and completions earlier this season. He now has 356 completions on 553 attempts this season, which are franchise records.