Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger And Opening Offensive Drives

I’m not quite sure where to go with this stat, but I think it might create a little bit of conversation and perhaps a research idea will come out of it.

During his career, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has started 142 games and that means he’s orchestrated 142 opening offensive drives. Of those 142 opening drives, 37 (26.1%) have ended with a touchdown.

Here is another interesting stat. In those 37 games that Roethlisberger and the offense scored a touchdown on their opening drive, the Steelers won 31 (83.8%) of them. In the six games that they lost, the Steelers defense also allowed an opening drive touchdown in two of them.

In the last two seasons, Roethlisberger has only finished off an opening drive of a game with a touchdown four times and just twice last season. The Steelers won three of those four games.

  • frednash

    I’ve heard that who scores first in any sport

    wins 80% of the time!

  • johnhoien

    Dave, just curious about the opening drives where we did not win the toss or differed … ? Coach Mike might benifit from that stat !

  • Matt Manzo

    I think we come out firing this year! When Todd came in we seemed to try to be aggressive but couldn’t pull it off. I think that changes this year, the offense will gel and we’re no longer relying on 3rd string RBs or a rag tag OL.

  • Andrew

    Research idea: what is opening drive scoring rate of other QBs, what is league average? I would assume there would be same correlation between scoring first and winning, but one would have to verify that to make sure the correlation exists across the league.

  • For a long time now, I kind of get this sinking feeling on every opening drive for Pittsburgh. Never knew why, except for the fact that it feels like they never score on their first drive. At least there’s significant evidence to back up that notion, so I’m not crazy.

  • LTSnaples

    My thinking is this stat is a trailing indicator rather than a leading one. If the Steelers historically start conservative by running the ball on the opening drive, it stands to reason they score TDs by controlling the line of scrimmage. If you control the line of scrimmage you win games. Besides which, a lot of those first possession TDs likely came against Cleveland.

  • LTSnaples

    Yeah, it looks like 6 of the 37 opening drive TDs were against the Browns.