There is a common misperception that Haley's offense is neglecting deep attempts while the rest of the league is chucking the ball down field on a regular basis. In looking at the stats, the fans' gut feel is largely wrong. While Ben is one of the least efficient quarterbacks at throwing 21+ yards downfield (only 19% completion percentage) he is on par with the likes of Manning, Rodgers, Ryan, Smith and Schaub in total attempts of 21+ yards. All such quarterbacks are currently carrying winning records (the worst of which being Manning who is tied with Ben at 4-3). It's not bad company.
Now if we adjust our stats to look at attempts of 11+ yards downfield, then Big Ben has, within a reasonable range, similar attempts to nearly all top rated and winning quarterbacks.
|Player (W/L record)||11-20||21-30||31-40||41+||Att 11+ yds||Comp% 11+ y/att||Att 21+ yds||Comp % 21+ y/attt||Rating|
|P. Manning (4-3)||25||48||7||14||4||9||0||0||71||50.7%||23||47.8%||109.0|
|E. Manning (6-2)||35||67||8||18||5||12||0||0||97||49.5%||30||43.3%||89.1|
The game itself has adjusted with spreading the field and taking advantage of what the defense gives you. The result is that many winning schemes are not utilizing deep balls on a regular basis. Blame the game, blame the offensive line, blame Mike Wallace or blame Todd Haley, this issue is not restricted to just the Steelers. The biggest concern I noted during this exercise was Big Ben's poor completion percentage at 21+ yards... a purely haggard number. Nonetheless, his QB rating is solid and despite looking woeful in early road efforts, the Black 'n Gold are sitting with a winning record and breathing down the necks of the Ravens.
So the next time you hear someone, maybe yourself, thinking the Steelers are alone on the dink and dunk island, think again. It's throughout the league.