3 reasons we are overreacting to the ugly end of the Steelers’ 2020 season

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The offense will improve in 2021, regardless of who is at quarterback.

Reports are circulating, saying that Ben is willing to do whatever he has to with his contract to be back with Pittsburgh in 2021. I truly think that either way the offense will look better in 2021 than it did in 2020.

I refuse to believe that Ben is going to keep the Steelers from winning big games with his play. The reality of it is that Matt Canada is running that offense now. The run game will be a factor again, the pre-snap motion will create mismatches. The Steelers are going to be running a fresh offense and I don’t think it’ll be too much for Ben to handle. Do I think Ben is still able to carry an offense to the Super Bowl? No, but he is good enough to not bring the offense down. I saw flashes of Ben making Big Ben plays throughout the season. It wasn’t consistent, but I really believe that he is good enough at the quarterback position to win a Super Bowl with the right team around him.

The deep shots will be there, and Canada will tell Ben to take them. Canada will also keep Ben from throwing the ball just over 49 times a game in his last 6 starts. Yes, in his last 6 starts in 2020 Ben threw the ball 296 times. That is more pass attempts than Ben had in each of his first two seasons. When the offense becomes more balanced in 2021 Ben will be able to sustain the form he was playing in for much of 2020 longer than just 10 games.

Remember that until Week 11 Ben was holding the highest single-season passer rating he had in his entire career. Ignoring his major surgery in 2019, there is not a 38-year-old quarterback alive that should be throwing the ball more than 40 times a game. Factoring in the amount of punishment Ben dealt with in his first 5 seasons, he started his career off as one of the most sacked QB’s in the NFL, Ben shouldn’t average more than 35 pass attempts a game at this stage of his career.

Even if Pittsburgh doesn’t draft a running back in 2021, the new offensive line and motion schemes should bolster the abilities of Benny Snell Jr and Anthony McFarland Jr. Matt Canada spent time with both Jaylen Samuels and Anthony McFarland Jr. in college so I would not be surprised to see them play much better in 2021 behind this new o-line than in 2020.

light. Related Story. 4 reasons why Steelers quarterback situation is the worst in the NFL

Pittsburgh will also have a real bye week in 2021, so the chances that they are going to continue to compound injuries in important positions relative to their schemes seems a little less realistic. I’m not saying that Pittsburgh isn’t going to have to deal with injuries and exhaustion, that is part of the game. Yet, the Steelers should have an easier time of it moving past 2020.