Updated: May 21, 2021
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report recently released his predictions for key stat leaders on the Steelers in 2021 and he has Ben Roethlisberger finishing the season with 3,752 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Ballentine believes Steelers' first-round pick Najee Harris will take some of the load off Roethlisberger and help booster the Steelers' ailing running game, so he projects that Roethlisberger's numbers should come down from a volume standpoint.
In 2020, Roethlisberger completed 399 of 608 passes (65.6%) for 3,803 yards and had a 33-10 touchdown-interception ratio, along with a quarterback rating of 65.6. Roethlisberger's 608 pass attempts were the third-most in the league, but he would have finished the regular season with the most pass attempts if he didn't sit out the Week 17 game against the Browns, as the Steelers had nothing to play for other than playoff seeding.
So, Ballentine has Roethlisberger throwing for 51 fewer yards and seven fewer touchdowns in 2021 from last year, along with throwing two more interceptions. This is assuming that Roethlisberger plays all 17 games as well, which would be two more games than his 2020 campaign.
With a top-tier running back like Harris in the backfield, the number should drop for Roethlisberger in pass attempts and not have to carry the offense as much like he has the last few years. With the Harris selection and the numerous adjustments and changes they've made to the offensive line, which was horrendous at run blocking last year, it suggests that the Steelers are doing everything they can to improve the run game and help Roethlisberger out more, who will play at the age of 39 in 2021.