Welcome to Stats ‘N’ At, a weekly feature that takes a deep dive into the numbers that define our city's sports scene.
During the first game of the 2018 season, Ben Roethlisberger looked old. The two-time Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer threw three interceptions in a mystifying, rain-soaked game against the Browns that ended in a tie. He was sacked four times, his deep ball wobbled, and he seemed to miss some of the tight throwing windows that he had typically hit with ease. With their star QB looking diminished, the Steelers' window appeared to be closing.
Two months later, Roethlisberger was on the sideline. Not because he lost his job or got hurt, but rather because he had just clowned the Panthers so badly that the fourth quarter of the Steelers' eventual 52-21 victory was rendered meaningless. He posted a perfect quarterback rating (158.3) and tossed five touchdown passes to five different receivers, leading the Steelers to their highest single-game point total in Heinz Field history and their fourth-highest point total in franchise history.
At age 36, and with his likely eventual successor on the roster, Big Ben is turning back the clock.