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Film Study: Ben Roethlisberger Flying High, Under the Radar

Nick DeWitt@@nickdewitt11Analyst IOctober 19, 2009

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 18: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes the football against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field on October 18, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Browns 27-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

You know you're good when you can throw for 417 yards and two touchdowns and still not get much of a mention beyond a footnote in the highlight reel.

That's what Ben Roethlisberger got for his stellar performance (one interception notwithstanding) Sunday against the Browns.

Yes, they're the Browns.  Yes, they're a terrible football team that can beat itself better than any opponent could possibly hope to do.

But Roethlisberger had a banner day.  Let's start with the statistics:

23/35 (66%) for 417 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 3 sacks, 113.6 rating

Ben leads the league in completion percentage, which is more telling than yardage.  If a quarterback rolls up 400 yards but only completes half his passes, he's missing a lot of opportunities. 

Roethlisberger has made a season of capitalizing on things.  He currently has a 72.5 completion percentage.  The best quarterbacks in the NFL right now, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, have a 69.2 and 73.5 completion percentage, respectively.  That's pretty good company.

Add to that that Roethlisberger is outgaining both Manning and Brees in yardage and is on par with them in TD passes.

Roethlisberger deserves mention in the MVP discussion.  The Steelers have leaned on him more often this year than previously and he has persevered in the face of a sometimes questionable (although not lately) offensive line and a questionable (although now-improving) rushing attack. 

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But MVP is still considered a two quarterback race between Manning and Brees.  Brett Favre is thrown in for laughs as well.  Where's Roethlisberger?  Is it because his team is 4-2 and not 5-0?

If Ben keeps having games like he did against Cleveland, he'll force his way into the discussion. 

Or maybe he'll just have to add to his late game heroics (18 comeback victories in the fourth quarter or overtime).  Manning and Brees aren't known for that, so perhaps that is where his niche is.

One thing is for sure.  No one else should be running this offense right now.  Ben is simply too good.

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