After finishing 6-2 in the last eight games of the regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers finished a season that started as a disaster with an 8-8 record for the second season in a row. Much of that second-half success rested on the shoulders of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The two-time Super Bowl champion put on a Pro Bowl season, but was not given an invitation to play in Hawaii.
In his 10th season as a pro, Roethlisberger cashed in his most productive season yet, leading the offense with the no-huddle and bubble screen routes. Roethlisberger finished 2013 as the franchise leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns. “Big Ben” also threw for over 4,000 yards for the third time in his career and 20-plus touchdowns for the fifth.
Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown at least five times in all 16 games for 50 yards or more, making Brown the first to do so in NFL history. Roethlisberger spread the ball around to 16 different receivers, and his top four finished with 25 touchdown receptions.
According to an interview with Steelers.com, Roethlisberger feels that he has yet to play his best football as a pro yet, even though the quarterback already has four AFC Championship appearances, three Super Bowl appearances, and played in two Pro Bowls. He was sacked 42 times in 2013, the most since 2009 (50). The Steelers have been working with the quarterback in efforts of getting the ball out earlier, and Roethlisberger thinks the no-huddle offense helps that process.
Will Roethlisberger ever be a “MVP” type quarterback? Probably not because of the way Roethlisberger is looked at by the rest of the league, but his production will improve under the coaching of offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Even though these two had problems at the start, they made some great things happen on the field, and that is why Roethlisberger will have an even more impressive season in 2014.