What a Difference a Ben Makes

Roethlisberger may be the best “backup” QB in the NFL. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

 The Pittsburgh Steelers finally have a reliable backup quarterback! It’s two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger. Okay, of course I’m joking. 

But Roethlisberger, who was probable to play coming into Sunday’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns, entered the game on the second series in relief of Landry Jones when he sprained his his left ankle.

All #7 did in his “backup role”, was throw 3 touchdowns on 22/33 passing for 379 yards. The most by any relief QB in NFL history. He was 18-23 for 286 and 2 touchdowns in first half alone. Roethlisberger didn’t just target his number one option Antonio Brown (more on him later) he connected with 6 other receivers. 

While the Steelers got the win, 30-9 to move to 6-4, there was some bad to go along with the good. 

  First the good. Both Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant went over 100 yards receiving and caught touchdown passes from Roethlisberger. Brown, fresh off his franchise record 17 catches for 284 yards, added another 10 catches for 139 yard, 2 touchdowns and a two point conversion. Bryant caught 6 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown. Each were also able to draw 4 pass interference penalties of 29, 35,38 & 39 yards for a total of 141 yards, which led to 10 points.

The Steelers defense forced 3 turnovers and collected 4 sacks of Johnny Manziel.

Now the bad, and you could say ugly. Surprisingly, the Steelers struggled to get the Deangelo Williams and the running game going against a Browns defense that was ranked last in the NFL, giving up 147.6 ypg via the rush entering Sunday’s matchup. Williams carried the ball 17 times for 54 yards. That’s  3.2 yards per carry. At one point in the second half, the Steelers had a total of 8 rushing yards. For the game, they amassed a team total of 60 yards, the fewest this season. They were also 1 of 6 in the red zone.

The Steelers pass defense gave up a career high 372 passing yards to Johnny Manziel. He was 33/45—that’s an .733 completion percentage—and a touchdown on the afternoon.

Also, Pittsburgh lost the time of possession battle 32:43 to 27:17; keeping the defense on the field for log stretches is what will kill them against more formidable offense they’re are likely to see if they make the playoffs.

Pittsburgh has now beaten Cleveland 9 times out of the last 11 meetings. Coach Mike Tomlin still has never lost to the Browns at Heinz Field, he is 9-0, and 14-3 overall in the regular season. 

The Steelers have a BYE next week, then play at the Seattle Seahawks on November 29th.

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