Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Turnovers Leave Stain on Good Showings Interceptions Costly for Roethlisberger

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Turnovers Leave Stain on Good Showings Interceptions Costly for Roethlisberger

Article excerpt

In many ways, Ben Roethlisberger will complete one of the best seasons of his illustrious career Sunday when the Steelers play the Browns in the regular-season finale in Cleveland. He is averaging 326 yards per game, the highest yards per game average of his career. He shredded two of the NFL's best defenses when he threw for 456 yards against Seattle and 380 against Denver. His peers took notice as he was voted to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time despite missing four games in the middle of the season with a knee injury.

But there is one statistic that doesn't shine brightly for Roethlisberger in 2015. His touchdown to interception ratio is among the worst in the league.

Scan the list of the league's best quarterbacks in this important category and some familiar names are at the top. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are Nos. 1 and 2. League MVP candidates Carson Palmer and Cam Newton are in the top 10.

Where is Roethlisberger? All the way down at No. 36 behind rookies Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. Behind Jay Cutler, Ryan Tannehill, Sam Bradford, Tyrod Taylor and a host of other no-name quarterbacks.

One season after posting one of his best touchdown to interception ratios of his career (32 to 9), Roethlisberger is about to finish the season with one of his worst. He has thrown 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 11 games.

Roethlisberger is throwing an interception on average once in every 31 attempts. That's on pace for his second-highest interception rate of his career.

For comparison's sake, he threw an interception once in every 67 attempts last season.

Roethlisberger is attempting more passes than he ever has. He has dealt with his own injuries, and some of his top weapons have been in and out of the lineup because of injuries and suspensions. But offensive coordinator Todd Haley said the bottom line is Roethlisberger and his teammates have to do a better job of protecting the ball.

"I'm not going to make excuses for him or for us," Haley said. "I know it's something he takes great pride in. Our whole group does. We have to do our best job this week because there is one thing that is a fact: When we turn the football over it's a lot harder to win. …

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