Now that we have reached—for some teams, anyway—the midpoint of the season, we are starting to see a lot of different venues with write-ups that are meant to highlight the best and the worst around the league through seven or eight games.
In the Pittsburgh Steelers’ case, it’s eight games, as they are on their bye week right now, so, statistically, their players do have a leg up on others in certain respects, with regard to cumulative statistics.
I’m sure the favorite resource of many here is Pro Football Focus. *cue the groans*. They published their quarterback rankings to date on the season, based on their overall grade, and, to cut to the chase, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was ranked 14th on the list.
Sandwiched in between Dak Prescott and Case Keenum in the site’s rankings, I don’t think there is a whole lot of debate over the fact that this has not been Roethlisberger’s best year. Still, I am sure that some will take issue with him being ranked lower than Andy Dalton. Maybe Kirk Cousins and Jameis Winston, too. But really, I don’t find too much here to complain about. He’s been average, and 14 is average.
Interestingly enough, the only statistic in the included graphic in which Roethlisberger ranks highly is the time to throw. He is averaging just 2.44 seconds from snap to throw, which I’m just going to assume is the quickest of his career, and is the third-fastest this season. Clearly, the sandlot ball is a thing of the past for the most part.
Troublingly, his adjusted completion percentage is near the bottom of the league, though I’m not sure this would surprise many. Adjusted completion percentage accounts for dropped passes, batted balls, and throwaways, focusing only on aimed, targeted passes. He has been accurate on 68.7 percent of his throws. Drew Brees, in comparison, has been accurate on 80.9 percent of his throws, best in the league.
He has just a 52 quarterback rating facing pressure this season, and 86.5 facing the blitz, neither of which place him in the top half of the league. He is in the bottom half in short, intermediate, and deep throws, deep passing being easily the worst relative to the rest of the league.
His percentage of turnover-worthy throws is lower than you might expect, on the other hand, for somebody with nine interceptions, 3.8 percent on the year, which is 18th. That’s still not good, but you might think it was much worse. He is also ranked 15th in their ‘big-time throw’ metric, on 4.6 percent of his passing snaps.
Even in a down year, Roethlisberger has still delivered some fantastic, elite throws, even if they have become fewer and far between. On Sunday, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw at least three passes of 94 or more yards with the 97-yard strike to JuJu Smith-Schuster, the longest offensive play in team history.