This past weekend the Pittsburgh Steelers invited the New York Jets into Heinz Field for a week 2 NFL matchup of teams that had very different opening weekends. For Steelers fans they wanted to see if their defense could step up and play better, but on offense they needed to see if they could run the ball with more consistency and could quarterback Ben Roethlisberger do more with fewer mistakes.
I wanted to do my best to be fair and balanced in this decision, looking at all facets of the game, but this week it was hard. The run game was pretty stagnant, but I put that as much on a stout New York Jets run defense as I do anything else. The offensive line held their own but at times especially against the run they got overwhelmed. The wide outs all made plays, but no one stood out in terms of taking over the game. But this is a good thing because it’s balance and that’s hard to prepare for.
So that leaves me with my goat from last week and the easy choice for this week, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Last weekend Roethlisberger made a mistake that in inexcusable for a quarterback of his caliber with a terrible throw that led to a pick 6, and swung the momentum firmly in the other direction. This weekend when the Jets defense was bottling up the run game and harassing him, he simply made plays.
It’s hard to argue with 77% accuracy and a 125.1 rating, but the number that stands out to me, and one I use often when comparing quarterbacks is yards per attempt. It shows me that the quarterback isn’t settling for short plays, and isn’t afraid to put the ball in the air and move it down the field. If you have a minute some time, go look up yards per attempt for some of the best quarterbacks in the league and some of the worst. For example in this game Roethlisberger was at 8.9 yards per attempt and Mark Sanchez was at 5.9 yards per attempt. For his career Roethlisberger is at 8.0 yards per attempt, putting him among the highest career average of any quarterback.
I said at the start of the season so goes Big Ben, so goes the Steelers, and yesterday when they were short handed on defense and struggling to run the football he threw the team on his back and won the game. You don’t win Super Bowls without great quarterback play, and so this is encouraging for Steelers fans moving forward.
Is there someone I missed you think was the offensive player of the week? Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and let me know.