Big Ben Roethlisberger made his much anticipated return yesterday after serving a four game suspension for violating the NFL code of conduct policy.
Roethlisberger received cheers at Heinz Field, which doesn't surprise me because the people at Heinz Field are usually the real fans. Anyone that thinks that Roethlisberger isn't good or shouldn't start for this team is an absolute moron. Yes, these people exist.
Roethlisberger said that he felt very emotional about the day and was very happy that the fans cheered him although there were a small group of protesters outside of the stadium yesterday against Roethlisberger.
As for Roethlisberger's performance, it was almost as good as I thought it would be. Roethlisberger did throw an interception in the redzone that was picked off by rookie Joe Haden. Roethlisberger was looking for Mewelde Moore on a slant route but overthrew him, which led to a nice play by Haden.
After the interception Roethlisberger seemed to get in rhythm and started to throw the ball very well. One thing that Roethlisberger brings to the table is his willingness and ability to throw the ball down-field. After watching a lot of football yesterday you can see that a lot of other quarterbacks deek-and-dunk their teams down the field.
That's fine, whatever works, but I like Roethlisberger's big play ability, it's what separates him from other quarterbacks. On the day he completed five passes over 20 yards.
Roethlisberger finished the game 16-27, for 257 yards and three touchdown passes, with a quarterback rating of 112.7.
The first touchdown was a beautiful 29-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace. Roethlisberger also hooked up with Wallace for a 50-yard completion thrown from the endzone, and he hit Wallace in full-stride. Roethlisberger also hooked up with his trusty tight-end Heath Miller on a 30-yard pass, and a 14-yard touchdown.
Roethlisberger's other touchdown pass was to Hines Ward, in which Ward did most of the work. That's another great thing Roethlisberger does, he seems to try and get everyone involved. Even rookie Emmanuel Sanders caught two passes.
No disrespect to Dennis Dixon or Charlie Batch, but Roethlisberger just brings so much more to the table. He certainly sparked a revival in the Steeler's passing attack.
In the first four games of the season the Steelers threw for 160 yards-per-game and three touchdowns. Compare that with Roethlisberger's last four games and he's averaging 310 passing yards a game, with 10 touchdown passes and just three interceptions.
The Steelers are also 4-0 in those games. Roethlisberger also didn't take any bad sacks yesterday. As a matter of fact Roethlisberger wasn't sacked at all, thanks to his ability to get rid of the ball quickly. Roethlisberger also benefited from his pocket-presence and scrambling ability, and the solid performance from his offensive line.
Roethlisberger did leave a few plays out there, mostly on some overthrows, probably due to some anxiousness mixed with rust. However, he played very well giving all of the circumstances. Now, Roethlisberger and everyone can truly move on and focus fully on football, which is the best distraction for all.
The only real test(s) left is road games, which will certainly include some boo's and other crude reactions from opposing fans. Luckily, the next game is in Miami, so it shouldn't be too bad.
The Steelers have three-straight road games coming up.
Bottom line: The Steelers are certainly a much better team with Roethlisberger as their quarterback.
The Steelers are also a very serious Super Bowl contender and are arguably the most complete team in the NFL right now. I also think the Steelers should spread their offense out now that Roethlisberger is back.
Roethlisberger is the best player on offense and should be throwing the ball around 25-30 times a game. However, the balance of the Steelers should prove to very tough to defend against.
Either way, the rest of the year should be fun for Steelers fans.
I will be doing a full-game breakdown after I watch the tape of the game again and should have it up on Wednesday. You can also read some of my work on my blog www.412sportstalk.net and follow me on Twitter. Madchad1187