Steelers Film Room: Recapping Ben Roethlisberger’s 9 First Half Interceptions Of 2017

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger exited the first half of the 2017 regular season with nearly as many interceptions thrown (9) as touchdowns (10). In fact, only twice before has Roethlisberger thrown nine or more interceptions in the Steelers first eight regular season games with the last time coming in 2013 when he threw 9.

While Roethlisberger’s 9 interceptions thrown in 8 games played is certainly a large number, when you look at each one under a microscope, you feel a little better about how they came about. In fact, roughly half of Roethlisberger’s nine first half interceptions weren’t totally his fault.

Below are quick breakdowns of all nine of Roethlisberger’s interceptions so far this season:

Week 1 – @ Browns – 4Q – 12:18 – 3 & 9 – CLE 29 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete deep middle intended for Martavis Bryant is intercepted by Derrick Kindred at CLE-1

Roethlisbergers first interception of the 2017 regular season came in Week 1 on the road against the Cleveland Browns. On that early fourth quarter 3rd and 9 play, Roethlisberger attempted to connect with wide receiver Martavis Bryant in the middle of the field with a deep pass against a cover-2 man defense. Bryant didn’t get great separation from slot cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun on the play and Roethlisberger’s high-ish rope of a throw wasn’t high enough. A leaping Boddy-Calhoun was able to deflect the football up into the air and Browns safety Derrick Kindred intercepted the football just inside Cleveland’s end zone.

Week 4 – @ Ravens – 3Q – 13:33 – 3 & 6 – PIT 20 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete short middle intended for Antonio Brown is intercepted by Eric Weddle at PIT-18

Roethlisberger’s second interception of the first half of the regular season certainly wasn’t his fault. Against the Baltimore Ravens, Roethlisberger connected with  shallow crossing wide receiver Antonio Brown via a mesh route concept on a 3rd and 6 play early in the third quarter. After initially catching the pass from Roethlisberger, Brown had the football stripped from his possession by Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith on his way to the ground and the loose football popped up and into the awaiting arms of Baltimore safety Eric Weddle.

Week 5 – vs Jaguars – 1Q – 1:33 – 2 & 10 – PIT 46 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete deep middle intended for Vance McDonald is intercepted by Jalen Ramsey at JAX-38

Roethlisberger had a five-interception game in Week 5 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and his first one came late in the first quarter on a 2nd and 10 play. On that play, Roethlisberger couldn’t step into his throw to tight end Vance McDonald due to rookie running back James Conner failing to properly pick up a blitzing linebacker. Because Roethlisberger wasn’t able to get much on his throw, Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey was able to undercut it for the interception.

Week 5 – vs Jaguars – 3Q – 6:44 – 2 & 11 – PIT 22 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete short left intended for Antonio Brown is intercepted by Telvin Smith at PIT-28

Roethlisberger’s second of five interceptions against the Jaguars is also very easy to explain. Jaguars defensive tackle Arby Jones spied Roethlisberger on the play while battling guard Ramon Foster and was ultimately able to get himself just into the passing lane as the quarterback was attempting to hit Brown on a backside slant route. After Jones was able to deflect Roethlisberger’s pass, the football flew directly to Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith and he returned the interception 28-yards for a touchdown.

Week 5 – vs Jaguars – 3Q – 4:11 – 3 & 17 – PIT 34 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete deep middle intended for Antonio Brown is intercepted by Barry Church at JAX-49

Roethlisberger’s third of five interceptions against the Jaguars was also returned for a touchdown. This time, however, it was Jaguars safety Barry Church who picked off Roethlisberger after Ramsey, who had already intercepted the quarterback earlier in the game, helped force a deflection of a high pass to Brown on a 3rd and 17 play up into the air. This play was seemingly against a cover-3 shell and designed to connect with Brown right at the sticks. Perhaps a lower throw by Roethlisberger would have been caught by Brown and if not, at least the football probably wouldn’t have been intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

Week 5 – vs Jaguars – 4Q – 5:38 – 3 & 10 – PIT 38 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete deep right intended for Justin Hunter is intercepted by Tashaun Gipson at JAX-42

Roethlisberger’s fourth interception against the Jaguars came with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and on a 3rd and 10 play. While the official play-by-play from the game indicates that Roethlisberger’s attempted pass was for wide receiver Justin Hunter, that clearly wasn’t the case. Instead, rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was Roethlisberger’s intended target on the play and he was tripped up by the slot defender at about 10 yards down the field and just as Roethlisberger was throwing the football. With Smith-Schuster on the ground, Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson had an easy interception.

Week 5 – vs Jaguars – 4Q – 3:22 – 2 & 14 – JAX 32 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete deep middle intended for Antonio Brown is intercepted by Tashaun Gipson at JAX-0

After having already thrown four interceptions in the game, Roethlisberger threw his fifth and final one of the contest late in the fourth quarter with the Steelers trailing 23-9. On this play, Roethlisberger forced the football to Brown via a deep end zone post route against right side quarters coverage and it was plucked out if the air by a leaping Gipson for his second interception of the game. This was just merely Roethlisberger trying to make a play late in a game when down two scores.

Week 6 – @ Chiefs – 2Q – 10:10 – 3 & 5 – KAN 42 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete short right intended for Antonio Brown is intercepted by Marcus Peters at KAN-36

Roethluisbegers eighth interception of the first half really needs to be credited to Brown. As you can see below and already probably remember, Roethlisberger was expecting to hit Brown on a short slant on this 3rd and 5 play against the Chiefs but the wide receiver stopped his route. This resulted in Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters being in the right place at the right time for the easy interception. This one goes squarely on the shoulders of Brown, not Roethlisberger.

Week 8 – @ Lions – 1Q – 5:50 – 1 & 10 – DET 44 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete deep left intended for Antonio Brown is intercepted by Glover Quin at DET-17

Roethlisberger’s final interception of the first half of the regular season was perhaps his most egregious one. He stares down Brown right from the snap and attempts to force the football deep down the numbers against half-field coverage and Lions safety Glover Quin is essentially given a gift interception.

  • NinjaMountie

    I ignored his 5 int game. You hate to see those games but they do happen to a QB in their career sometimes. Other than that, the first and the last were the ones that annoyed me the most.
    Still, this is why I don’t have him throwing many 2nd half ints this year.

  • Mark

    To me Ben has 6 legitimate INT’s that I put on him. I took away the WR running the wrong route, falling down, and that fluke INT against Bmore. The last INT against Detroit is the type of INT that concerns me. AB was double teamed and by the time the ball arrived, he was tripled team.

  • Cwallace

    Yeah il give him a pas on 3 of them starting from last to first. The Marcus Peters int, the first Gibson int, and the Telvin Smith int. I would give him a pass on the Jalen Ramsey pick but i said all week up until kickoff to avoid Jalen Ramsey at all cost and the defensive line would be by far the the nastiest they’ll see this year at Heinz and to just pound the ball down their throats..f the eight man fronts…they can and will do that all game with 2 shutdown corners…but no..this jackass offensive coordinator is too stupid to realize this team you have to wear down and make bortles the headcase throw. If he would have done that leveon would have had 180yrds rushing and the score would have been reversed. I’m still pissed off to the hilt about that game because i have property and grew up in jax…right across from that freakn stadium so i catch hell when they beat us which is more than us. Comn Bengals..get em. That outa tell you right there how much i dont wanna see them win s..t!

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I am not worried about the total of 9 INTs. A few were just weird and bad luck. Look at the overthrow of AB in the Jags game. That bothers me. He does that so often and usually we get lucky and the ball is tipped with no INT and the leaping receiver does not get himself killed or carted off. It’s so dangerous. MB and others are lucky the have not been hospitalized.

    Sometimes it’s a wide open guy that he misses in this intermediate area. When I see a play like that I just wish Ben would throw the ball low where AB can make the catch while getting down, even if he needs to slide to the ground. Less chance of injuries, and you still have an easy 15-25 yard gain. This goes for many of those throws unless there is a LB in the way. Make life easier on everyone.

  • popsiclesticks

    Two of their first three drives were ended early in large part due to their trying to run into the teeth of the 8 man front. It didn’t work. Don’t throw 5 picks.

  • Alan Tman

    I will give him the two to AB and that’s it. A 6’5″ QB has no business getting passes tipped like he does.

  • Yea, defenders aren’t allowed to play plays. How dare they!!!

  • #beatthepats

    Agreed some of his picks are bad, forcing it to brown too much. The third and short throwing long is frustrating. But I think his now confidence in a no 2 (JUJU) will lend to a much better 2nd half for Ben.

  • EdJHJr

    Really one was all on him. Well maybe 2 .

  • EdJHJr

    Always great film

  • Cwallace

    Lol. You’re right as rain. Yeah that works better. But you get my point..the jags are terrible when they have to win a slugfest or tight game because bortles will do something stupid..he did last time we played them in jax, remember the easy Blake pick in 2013. And thanks popsiclesticks for reminding me because i only revisited pieces of that game and im a little better for your info. But Bell should have had more than 15 carries and the coaching staff was outcoached before they showed up. Buddy i want revenge for that ala Miami dolfins in the playoffs last year. GO STEELERS!!

  • Smitty 6788

    A tipped pass on a slant by a DL is not on him OL are taught to make sure the hands are not up on those passes. Also Conner missing his assignment is no different than a Wr running the wrong route. He was being hit as he delivered the pass because of it. Ben has not been great but not no where near as bad as his stats suggest.

  • Smitty 6788

    Ben rarely puts his wrs in harms way. I totally disagree with that.

  • Wayde Philpot

    Some of those were tips that found their way into defenders hands. Doesn’t matter though. Still counts as an INT if the ball never hits the ground. There has to be better chemistry with all receivers on the team too. Ben hasnt been as accurate as he should be….not hitting guys in stride sometimes. Latest example was a big pass play to JuJu where it seemed like he was waiting an eternity for the ball which allowed defenders to close in on him….What was a nice pass play could’ve been a TD had Ben hit him in stride along the right sideline.

  • Charles Haines

    That INT vs Baltimore would be the tape to use to eliminate video replay. Somebody needed to lose their job for that call.

  • NinjaMountie

    I understand the feeling. I’m not certain Alan is a usual transgressor but some people like to think that the Steelers should be the only team with NFL caliber players.
    It’s like missed tackles. I hate them but sometimes the other NFL players makes an NFL play that beats our guy. It happens.

  • PaeperCup

    Remember that season Ben threw 17 Tds and 15 ints. Yeah that was a good year

  • PaeperCup

    What about the weddle int? That shouldn’t even be an int, let alone the qbs fault

  • John Pennington

    Is there something wrong with Bens legs.He isn’t stepping into his throws looks like he is just aiming and throwing with his arm.Still throwing into double coverage also not seeing the field.

  • Alan Tman

    It’s funny always excuses for the QB, but when CB make plays and receivers drop the ball it’s a whole different story!!! Lol

  • galerus277

    I’m still shocked they ruled it as INT. Can’t wrap my head around it – WHY, HOW!? Jeez.

  • Cwallace

    You’re right PaeperCup…and that shouldn’t have even been an int. I should have remembered that because that was the most egregious call of an int I’ve seen in awhile. As you can see im still so disturbed by that jags game i missed that one. To be honest with you …i think im only upset about the ints in that jags game and the Detroit game int was rookie. Go STEELERS

  • Aj Gentile

    Even if that ball isn’t tipped, it probably still gets picked off

  • You say a 6’5 QB shouldn’t have batted balls. But you do realize these D linemen are mostly 6’1” to 6’3” and most have arms that are nearly 3 feet long.

    I’m not making excuses, but I expect the opposing team to make their share of good plays as well. The other teams aren’t just going to drop belly up because they play us. They are trying to win too, every week.

  • Smitty 6788

    Not sure how you came to that conclusion. There’s a clear path the ball was thrown on time no way it’s picked if it’s not tipped.

  • Alan Tman

    Like I said we don’t hear those excuses when receivers drop passes when they are tripped or the corner makes a good play, so why should I listen when it’s Ben?

  • Ignorance is bliss, right? or is it blisters?

  • Alan Tman

    Tipped pass is on Ben. Drew Brees and Russell Wilson don’t get as many passes tipped.