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Big Ben's skills could be tough to replace

11/13/2012

The biggest storyline to come out of the Pittsburgh Steelers win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football was Ben Roethlisberger’s strained right shoulder.

The Steelers improved to 86-36 in games Roethlisberger started with their overtime victory, though Roethlisberger was not around for the finish.

Big Ben could be missed

Of greater concern to the Steelers than the win may be Roethlisberger’s health. If he’s out for an extended length of time, the Steelers will miss him in a couple of notable areas.

Ben Roethlisberger
RoethlisbergerThey’ll miss him on third down. The Steelers went 6-for-16 on third down on Monday, but lead the NFL with a 51 percent third-down conversion rate.

Roethlisberger has had a very productive season on third down, completing two-thirds of his passes in those situations. His 47 percent conversion rate on third-down throws this season is second-best in the NFL, trailing only Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

Roethlisberger also has rated as elite in situations in which opponents have rushed four or fewer pass rushers. His 69 percent completion rate and 11-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio both rank in fourth-best in the NFL (tied for fourth in ratio).

The Steelers next face the Baltimore Ravens, a team they’ve had plenty of trouble with even with Roethlisberger at the helm. His 56.8 percent completion rate against the Ravens is tied for his second-worst against any opponent he’s faced multiple times.

Steelers won with defense

In Roethlisberger’s absence, the Steelers defense won the game for him, with an interception in overtime that led to the game-winning field goal by Shawn Suisham.

Pittsburgh’s defense caused all sorts of trouble for Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, who was 1-for-8 against five-or-more pass rushers. This continued a trend in which the Steelers have held their last four opponents to a 30 percent completion rate against such rushes.

Matt Cassel This Season
Facing 5 or More Pass Rushers

In the first seven games of the season, the Steelers allowed opponents to complete 62 percent of their passes against five-or-more rushers.

The Steelers also forced Cassel into 0-for-8 passing on third down. Cassel’s eight third-down pass attempts are the most any quarterback has had in a single game without a completion in the last five seasons.

Coming into Monday, Cassel had completed an NFL-high 69 percent of his third-down passes this season.

Streaking

The win kept alive a few streaks- the Steelers have won four straight games, won four straight overtime games at home, and won 15 straight home games on Monday Night Football.

The Chiefs did have one notable streak come to an end, as they managed an in-game lead, snapping a run of eight straight games to start the season without one.

Another streak extended though, as head coach Romeo Crennel fell to 0-9 as a head coach against the Steelers, the worst record by any current coach against a team.