Steelers notebook: Ben Roethlisberger tends to bounce back after many turnovers
Need a reason to feel better about Ben Roethlisberger rebounding from his three-interception, five-turnover performance against the Cleveland Browns in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ opener?
Recent history suggests that Roethlisberger, who is dealing with an elbow injury, will be fine Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
When Roethlisberger throws at least three interceptions in a game, his record in starts the following week is 9-3. Since 2008, Roethlisberger is 7-0 in the game after he throws three-plus interceptions.
In 2017, Roethlisberger also faced the Chiefs on the heels of his record five-interception game at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The following week, at Arrowhead Stadium, Roethlisberger wasn’t exceptional but he completed 15 of 27 passes for 252 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 19-13 victory.
That interception was just his third in those seven bounce-back wins since 2008.
It also helps that Roethlisberger has a 6-1 record (with five wins in a row) and 115.8 career passer rating against the Chiefs in the regular season, plus another win in the postseason. He hasn’t lost to the Chiefs since the 2009 season.
On April 3, 2017, Roethlisberger met with Steelers officials to make it official that he would return for his 14th NFL season. Roethlisberger memorably had contemplated retirement after the AFC championship game loss at New England.
Coincidentally on that date, the Steelers hosted a pair of quarterbacks in the pre-draft process. One was Joshua Dobbs. The other was Patrick Mahomes.
All three quarterbacks will converge at Heinz Field on Sunday. Mahomes, taken No. 10 overall by the Chiefs in the 2017 draft, will make his second start and threw four touchdown passes in the opener against San Diego. Dobbs, selected in the fourth round by the Steelers, will be on the sidelines backing up Roethlisberger, who is expected to play after missing two days of practice with elbow soreness.
Mahomes and Dobbs crossed paths at the Peyton Manning passing camp, the NFL Combine and other visits aside from the one with the Steelers.
“I know Pat really well,” Dobbs said. “He had a great week last week, and I hope we slow him down.”
Another pre-draft visitor to the Steelers that April day was receiver Kenny Golldaday, who had seven catches for 114 yards for the Detroit Lions in the season opener.
The Steelers’ tackling issues were well-documented last year, particularly after linebacker Ryan Shazier injured his spinal cord in early December. The defense ranked next-to-last in the NFL in missed tackles.
Defensive coordinator Keith Butler saw improvement in the opener against Cleveland even though quarterback Tyrod Taylor rushed for 77 yards. The Browns’ three running backs combined for 100 yards, but it took 30 carries to get there.
“Tackling was better,” Butler said. “It was better than it was at the end of last season. Our coaches worked hard to get the tackling better where we don’t miss as many tackles in crucial situations … and we have to continue getting better as the year goes on.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at [email protected] or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.