After Career Year In 2014, Can Ben Roethlisberger Lead NFL In Passing Yards Next Season?

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 12:07 AM GMT

Wednesday, Jul. 8, 2015 12:07 AM GMT

Ben Roethlisberger had the greatest season for a quarterback in Steelers history last season but came up just one yard short of winning the passing title solo. Might Big Ben add that to his Hall of Fame resume in 2015? He is +1000 on that prop at 5Dimes.

Can Big Ben Top Career Year?
When you think of Roethlisberger, do you think of a guy who puts up huge numbers? I really don't, but maybe that's just part of playing for the Steelers as you think of that franchise as defense more than offense. Before Big Ben came around, just once had a Steelers quarterback thrown for at least 3,500 yards: Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw in 1979 with 3,724. No Steelers QB had reached 30 touchdowns, with the previous high of 28 also by Bradshaw. And of course he has four Super Bowl rings to Big Ben's two.

Last year was Roethlisberger's best statistical season. He set career-highs in attempts (608), completions (408), completion percentage (67.1), yards (4,952) and touchdown passes (32). The yardage tied the Saints' Drew Brees for the league lead. Big Ben also did something no quarterback had ever done. In Week 8 against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, the Steelers won 51-34. Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards and six touchdowns. That was 32 yards shy of the NFL record of 554 set by the Rams' Norm Van Brocklin in 1951, but it made Roethlisberger the only QB with two 500-yard games. He also threw for 503 in 2009 against the Packers. The next week, Roethlisberger threw for six more touchdown passes in a 43-23 win over the rival Baltimore Ravens. No QB had ever thrown for six TDs in back-to-back games or had 12 TD passes in a two-week span. Roethlisberger joined Y.A. Tittle (1962) as the only QBs with a pair of games with at least six touchdown passes in the same season. The only quarterback with more games with at least six touchdown passes in his career is Peyton Manning with three. Roethlisberger was named to his third Pro Bowl.

The Steelers won the AFC North but had their season end at home in the wild-card round against Baltimore, 30-17. Roethlisberger was 31 of 45 for 334 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Pittsburgh played without injured Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell.

 

Steeler For Life
Pittsburgh assured that Roethlisberger will end his career in the Steel City, signing him to a five-year, $99 million extension this spring. His previous contract was set to expire following the 2015 season. Roethlisberger, 33, was due $11.6 million in the last year of the six-year extension he signed in March 2008 and had renegotiated three times since. He's essentially now guaranteed to earn about $65 million over the next three seasons.

And he has perhaps the skill position talent in the NFL around him. There's Bell, who was named the team MVP last season. He rushed for 1,361 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 83 passes for 854 yards and three more scores. Remember, though, that Bell is currently suspended the first three games of the 2015 season and he was clearly  missed in that Ravens playoff loss. Receiver Antonio Brown led the NFL with 129 catches and 1,698 yards and was tied for second with 13 touchdowns. The team also has two good-looking big young receivers in Markus Wheaton (53 catches for 644 yards, two TDs) and Martavis Bryant (26 catches, 549 yards, eight TDs). Name me a team that has a better group than that.

One reason I don't like Big Ben to win this prop is the division the Pittsburgh Steelers play in as well as the fact the team will have several cold-weather games. The defenses of AFC North rivals Baltimore, Cincinnati and Cleveland are all pretty good. And the Steelers might play their last five games in wintry weather: Week 13 vs. Colts, Week 14 at Bengals, Week 15 vs. Broncos, Week 16 at Ravens and Week 17 at Browns. Meanwhile, guys like Luck and Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford are largely playing in domes.

I'm also thinking that Roethlisberger will miss a game or two. He hasn't the past two seasons but missed at least one from 2009-12. He still takes a lot of hits back there. 

NFL Free Pick: 5Dimes has Big Ben at +1000 to lead the league in passing yards. Roethlisberger had his career season and got his new deal. He won't lead the NFL in passing yards in 2015.

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