It’s nothing new for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to win AFC Offensive Player of the Week. After all, he’s done it 18 times over the course of his 17-year career. But on this most recent occasion, he did it without any practice time, as he spent most of last week on the team’s COVID-19 Reserve list and was limited to participating in the team’s walkthrough on Saturday.
Nevertheless, Roethlisberger completed 27 of 46 passes for 333 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions (passer rating 110.1) in Pittsburgh’s 36-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Ben Roethlisberger Suggests More Time Off
Things went so well for Big Ben versus the Bengals that he half-jokingly lobbied Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin to get “[this] week off too.” Tomlin described that conversation as decidedly brief, and told Big Ben, “I’ll see you at practice Thursday,” as Roethlisberger always gets Wednesday practices off, much like several other longtime veterans, including center Maurkice Pouncey.
Roethlisberger has now thrown for 2,267 yards this season, with 22 touchdown passes against only four interceptions.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are tied with the New Orleans Saints for the fourth-most points per game (30.1), trailing only the Seattle Seahawks (32.2), Kansas City Chiefs (31.8) and Green Bay Packers (30.8). By way of comparison, the lowest-scoring team in the NFL is the New York Jets, at just 13.4 points per game.
Ben Roethlisberger Now an NFL MVP Candidate?
Coming into the 2020 season, Roethlisberger was viewed as a strong candidate to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year. But after Sunday’s performance he has also moved into the conversation for NFL Most Valuable Player, at least if the betting odds are any indication.
According to co.sportsbetting.com, Roethlisberger is now tied for sixth most likely to win the award (with Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen). The five quarterbacks ahead of him are Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs), Russell Wilson (Seahawks), Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Kyler Murray (Cardinals) and Tom Brady (Buccaneers).
Per Brooke Pryor of ESPN, with 18 AFC Offensive Player of the Week awards, Roethlisberger is now tied with former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino for fifth all-time in that category.
It’s not the first time that a Steelers player has won Offensive Player of the Week honors this season. In Week 5, rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool received the honor in the wake of his four touchdown game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Two different Steelers have also won AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors this year. In Week 8, defensive end Stephon Tuitt earned the recognition for the first time in his career. And outside linebacker T.J. Watt was named Defensive Player of the Week for his dominant performance against the Denver Broncos in Week 2.
The Steelers return to action on Sunday November 22 at 1 p.m. ET versus the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. It will be the second consecutive week that Big Ben and the Steelers will face a rookie quarterback, as Jaguars starter Gardner Minshew II remains out of the lineup with a thumb injury.
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