Roethlisberger on pace to set Steelers records
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One of the seven or so players who stood up at the Steelers' Saturday morning meeting was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. It should come as no surprise considering that he stood up to everything thrown at him all year, from emergency medical procedures to calls for his benching.
Now it's Roethlisberger's turn to do the throwing, and he has done a much better job of it lately. In the past five games, he has compiled a more Big Ben-like passer rating of 101.4 compared to his overall 78.1. During that time, he has 1,474 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, 7 interceptions and completed 70 percent of his throws.
Clouded by the team's record and his high interception total, Roethlisberger is on target to produce the most prolific season by a passer in club history.
He has thrown for 2,043 yards in eight games, an average of 255.4 yards per game. Over the course of 15 games, that would produce 3,830 yards. Terry Bradshaw holds the team record with 3,724 yards in 1979.
Roethlisberger also is tearing through the personal standards he set in his wildly successful first two seasons as a pro. He has thrown for 998 yards the past three games, by far the most he has produced in a three-pack. This, after he threw for 433 yards against Denver Nov. 6, the second-highest total in club history.
It also marked the first time in his career he had consecutive games of more than 300 yards -- he had just two such games in his first two seasons. He has gone over 200 yards in his past seven games. He did it six times last season before the playoffs, and topped 200 four times as a rookie.
Also, for the second time in four games, Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes. He had one three-touchdown game before this season.
All in all, coach Bill Cowher is happy with his quarterback's performance.
"It was good to see him accurately throwing," Cowher said after Sunday's 38-31 victory against New Orleans at Heinz Field. "He's played pretty well throughout the year except for those one or two throws."
Roethlisberger's high total of 14 interceptions this season is perplexing to Cowher and his offensive staff because it's something Roethlisberger did not do his first two seasons in the league, when he threw a total of 20. He started the season by throwing seven interceptions and no touchdown passes in three games, all losses.
He followed that with two nearly perfect games against Kansas City and Atlanta, before he was knocked out of the Falcons' game with a concussion in the third quarter. He threw for a lot of yards -- 734 -- against Denver and Oakland but also had seven interceptions. Cowher absolved him of two of his three interceptions against Denver and Roethlisberger followed that with none against the Saints.
Roethlisberger, though, has readily accepted blame all season and he did it again Sunday.
"This is a team and a franchise that's used to winning games. For us, not winning and for me to not play well and to think it's been my fault -- it was important to come out and get this win and not turn the ball over."
He also refused to take credit for Sunday's victory, refusing even to say it was his best performance of the season.
"I think it was just a good game all around for all of us," Roethlisberger said. "I think our line played great -- they gave us a lot of time. There were maybe one or two sacks, but the one sack was my fault. I should have gotten rid of it.''
First Published November 14, 2006 12:00 am