Ben Roethlisberger Torches 49ers Secondary, Ties Franchise Record

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 369 yards and three touchdown passes with no interceptions in a 43-18 blowout victory against the San Francisco 49ers in the Steeler’s 2015 home opener. Following a 10-day layoff after falling short against the New England Patriots in the NFL’s season opener, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers receivers hooked up early and often on throws deep down the field against the 49ers secondary.

ESPN reported that Roethlisberger’s prolific numbers in the vertical passing game, as evidenced by his 239 yards on six pass attempts (five completed) on throws more than 30 yards down field, represented “the most such (30+ yard) completions in a game in the past 10 seasons.”

On the Steelers fan blog, Behind the Steel Curtain, a pre-game discussion of the upcoming 49ers vs. Steelers match-up featuring a round table of Steelers and 49ers bloggers predicted that the 49ers’ young and inexperienced secondary would be a ripe target for Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown, tight end Heath Miller, and the rest of Pittsburgh offense.

“Mike Tomlin said he did not think the 49ers secondary was challenged last week because the defensive front did such a strong job. I would not be surprised if the Steelers attacked the 49ers through the air early and often.”

After Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense were forced to punt on their first possession of the game, they got rolling downfield, scoring four touchdowns on their next 22 offensive plays.

According to post-game comments made by safety Antoine Bethea and reported by Comcast Sports Network Bay Area, the Niners expected Roethlisberger to take deep shots down the field, and quite simply just couldn’t make any stops.

“They were trying us deep and we knew they were going to do that. We knew Big Ben (Roethlisberger), that’s his style of game. He’s going to take shots. It’s our job to defend that and we didn’t do a great job of defending the deep ball today.”

With the win over the 49ers, Ben Roethlisberger tied Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw for the most career wins as a starting quarterback in the history of the Steelers’ franchise. With his 107th win as a starter in the books, Roethlisberger will look to surpass Bradshaw next week in St. Louis against the Rams.

Despite playing in the NFL for over a decade, the 3-time pro bowler Ben Roethlisberger has only faced the Rams one previous time in his career, winning 41-24 in December of 2007, in another game in which he threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Based on evidence of a strained relationship between the past and current Steelers quarterback greats, it would be surprising to see Terry Bradshaw at the Rams game next week or making any public congratulations statements between now and when his record is ultimately broken by Roethlisberger.

[Image Credit: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images Sport]