Where Steelers Offensive Success Lies: Ben Roethlisberger


The Steelers had one of the better offenses (statistically speaking) in the NFL in 2014.

Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell achieved personal bests and even broke some team and NFL records along the way. The offensive line suffered very little in the injury department and became one of the most cohesive groups the Steelers offense has seen in years.

But who is responsible for the Steelers offensive success? Who is at the epicenter? Big Ben? Brown? Bell? The O-line? Todd Haley

Let’s take a look at Ben Roethlisberger.

Ben entered into his 11th season in 2014. Up to that point, Big Ben had orchestrated a pair of Super Bowl wins, numerous playoff wins, a boat load of 4th quarter come from behind wins, and centered himself as the leader of the offense.

Known for his affinity to extend plays by being a master of scrambling and making something of nothing, Roethlisberger faced challenges over the last few seasons – working with a new offensive coordinator who began the efforts to make Big Ben more of a pocket passer.

Not to mention having to navigate the media and answering questions about his working relationship with Boss Todd, and continual trade rumors generated by NFL.com ‘sources.’

Ben tied Drew Brees for most passing yards in 2014. He threw for his best TD to INT ratio in his career. His completion percentage (67.1%) was the highest in his career. He had his second highest QB Rating, bested only by his performance back in 2007. He was magnificent when he commanded the no-huddle.

‘Ben being Ben’ is what makes the offense unique, special, and very difficult to defend against. Take the rest of Ben’s body of work in his career into consideration, and 2015 looks like his for the taking.

So does the success of the offense lie mostly on Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulders?

It depends on what side you subscribe to.

Many fans in Steeler Nation (media included) are the first to bitch and moan when the Steelers lose and there’s a Roethlisberger interception or sailed incomplete pass during the game. If it weren’t for his supporting cast, he would be about as effective as Ryan Fitzgerald (the Buffalo Fitz not the Texans one). Just your average QB.

Dec 14, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks to throw the ball in the third quarter Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

The other camp argues that the offense wouldn’t be nearly as good if you plug in another QB into the same offense.

There’s evidence of both. Not to take anything away from Charlie Batch, but he is after all one of your ‘average’ quarterbacks. He was 6-3 as a starter with the Steelers and a total of 6-5 when having to take significant snap counts in place of Ben. He threw for 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 33 games played with the Steelers and 278 pass attempts.

The fire power went away when Charlie went under center, but he managed a game extremely well. Aside from former QB and now ESPN ‘analyst’ Trent Dilfer, you don’t win championships by being a game manager.

There’s no way the Steelers make it to three Super Bowls and win two of them without Roethlisberger. Most certainly they don’t beat the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. You would have to put another elite quarterback in there to come close to having a chance.

2014 and now 2015 have rosters that are loaded with offensive talent. Ben has lots of quality targets to choose from. Would an average quarterback do any better? Well we know Bruce Gradkowski doesn’t shine and let’s not even talk about Landry Jones.

Sure Antonio Brown is the best receiver in the NFL, but would he be just as good if someone like Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, or Tony Romo were throwing to him? I for one am dubious about such claims.

So, does the success of the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers offense rest on the shoulders of Ben Roethlisberger?

Next: OTA Day 3 Wrapup

More from Still Curtain