If the Steelers can pull out a win this Thursday against the Tennessee Titans, they will go over .500 for the first time all season. Overall, the Steelers are in an OK spot. The season is only a quarter of the way through and with a 2-2 record, the Steelers are still in contention.
Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger is off to a great start, on pace to throw for 4,444 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions; a career high. Do these numbers mean another playoff run for the Steelers? Well, it depends on which statistic you decide to use as a barometer.
Roethlisberger's top three seasons in passing yardage have led to a 1-2 record (2006, 2009, 2011). In nine season, Ben has only reached 32 touchdowns once (2007).
The big stat could be turnovers. Ben has thrown fewer than double-digit turnovers only twice in his career and both times the team made the Super Bowl (2005, 2010).
When the Steelers reached the Super Bowl in 2008, Ben threw 15 interceptions but only five occurred in twelve regular season wins.
Ben's ability to protect the ball correalates with how often he is sacked. His only turnover this season came against the Denver Broncos where he was sacked five times. He's been sacked nine times so far this season.
The Steelers have traditionally been a power run team but, since Mike Tomlin took over as head coach, they have failed to even run somewhat effectively. This season has been no exception as Ben is on pace to throw 628 times which would ranked tenth on the all-time single season list, while the rushing offense ranks 26th. Hopefully Rashard Mendenhall's performance last Sunday is a sign of things to come.
As i've stated before, the Steelers need the offense to carry the load this season. With Lamarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu out for an extended period of time, the already aging defense is going to have problems stopping other teams. This is now Ben Roethlisberger's team to lead and it is going to be his leadership on the field that determines whether or not the Steelers can make the playoffs. So far, he's done a pretty good job.
If Ben Roethlisberger stays on this track and the Steelers find themselves back in the playoffs, he will certainly get consideration for MVP. For now, the Steelers need him to continue his string of being efficient and not turning the ball over.