2017 Grade: .356
2017 3rd Down: .019
Week 1 vs. Cleveland: In the 2016 grades, I talked about how the Steelers were reducing Roethlisberger’s role in the offense – the same was true on Sunday. Bubble screens, quick dump offs, Pittsburgh isn’t asking him to do a lot. And that probably has something to do with his general ineffectiveness. He threw behind receivers frequently, looked slow and indecisive in the pocket, and held the ball too long on slower developing routes. That cliff is looking really close, but Antonio Brown consistently bails him out.
Week 2 vs. Minnesota: The identity transformation of the Steelers remains in full-force. Quick throws and a steady ground game to preserve their nearly retired quarterback helps to protect Big Ben. That’s not to say he’s not capable of shaking off would-be-sackers and making quality throws (see below) but the mistakes are becoming a trend. The GIF below wasn’t an interception, but it should’ve been – with a wide open target underneath, no less.
Week 3 at Chicago: Ben Roethlisberger mentioned he didn’t sleep much Saturday night, and it showed. Seven of his first 11 passes were noticeably off-target. His mechanics in the pocket continue to be erratic and his accuracy is a pass-by-pass proposition. He uncharacteristically whiffed on a couple of deep passes, he doesn’t maneuver away from pressure like he once did, and he still challenges windows that aren’t open. His third down tape has been a bit of a nightmare (4 points on 29 drop backs.)
Week 4 at Baltimore: Every time I grade a Roethlisberger game, I expect the grade to be sub-par. Not that he’s been dazzling this year (his .440 mark is middle of the pack) but the design of the Steelers offense is so… bland. Screens, quick hitters, heavy running game, they have completely minimized Roethlisberger. He avoids the bad plays to allow this style to work, but it feels like this is his last year.
Week 5 vs. Jacksonville: It’s becoming more obvious, with each passing week, why the Steelers are minimizing Ben Roethlisberger’s role in the offense – he is no longer the player he once was. He’s often late on reads, his ball doesn’t have the same velocity it used to, he doesn’t evade the rush like he once did, and his accuracy to the middle of the field is a potential turnover every time he lets it rip. This throw was a staple for Roethlisberger and Brown for a long time, and Ben can’t get it there.
Week 6 at Kansas City: Roethlisberger’s lone touchdown pass was graded at -3 points. With a two-point lead, he severely underthrew Antonio Brown, the defender drops the pick, bats it into the air and Brown does the rest. The GIF below is another atrocious throw that actually does get intercepted. The theme remains the same, the Steelers are scheming this offense to try to cover the weakness at the quarterback position. That old cowboy definitely doesn’t have it any more.