The one key difference in Steelers wins and losses

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers return from their bye week at 3-3, and they have a common trend that determines whether they win or lose.

The Pittsburgh Steelers return to action this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh enters the contest at 3-3. They are currently last in the AFC North, and their .500 start has been less than ideal, but with five divisional games still on the schedule, the race is relatively open.

In order to win more in the second half of their season, the Steelers will have to consistently play better against quality opponents. In Week 1, they were able to pull out a close win against the Buffalo Bills but were dominated two weeks later by the Cincinnati Bengals. As their 3-3 record demonstrates, it’s never clear what to expect from the Steelers, but one thing that has been consensus is that the offense needs to be better, starting with Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger, who is past his prime, has struggled to remain effective with age. His lack of mobility and declining arm strength have led to 1,515 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and four interceptions in the team’s first six games. The biggest cause for concern is the turnovers, as Pittsburgh has lost every game that Roethlisberger has thrown an interception.

Roethlisberger‘s interceptions lead to Steelers loses

In the three Steelers’ victories, Roethlisberger has thrown 670 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions.  Contrastly, in the three Pittsburgh losses, Roethlisberger has 845 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions. His interceptions have led to 17 points, and an opponent kneeling out the clock to secure victory for the other team.

Rothlisberger’s turnovers have contributed to losing the turnover battle in each Steelers’ loss, Pittsburgh either wins or is even in turnover margin in games it’s won. This means the formula for the Steelers winning the next 11 games is simple, don’t throw interceptions and win the turnover battle, much easier said than done. Obviously, every team enters each game with those goals, but for Pittsburgh, they have to be more intentional about it than others.

Roethlisberger often gets into a mode where he forces things and throws ill-advised passes that turn into preventable interceptions. While it’s understood that the Steelers are trying their hardest to generate downfield offense, that can’t come at the cost of careless turnovers.

The Steelers don’t have an explosive offense that can climb itself out of deficits, and while the defense is good, they aren’t good enough to overcome the offense putting them in bad positions. If they want to have a successful season, protecting the football has to become one of the most important things offensively.

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