5 times the passing game was special


This is another in a periodic series recapping some of the memorable moments from the 2014 season.*

Today: The passing game.

Oct. 26, Indianapolis: QB Ben Roethlisberger set franchise records for completions (408), attempts (608) and passing yards (4,952, which tied Drew Brees for the NFL lead) in 2014. Still, it's hard not to acknowledge his performance in the Steelers' 51-34 victory over the Colts as "The Best of Ben."

Roethlisberger set Steelers records for completions (40), passing yards (522, the fourth-highest total in NFL history) and passing touchdowns (six) against Indianapolis. He also became the first player in NFL history to throw for at least 500 yards twice. Other spectacular details included Roethlisberger completing a season-high 81.6 percent of his passes, matching his season-high figure in yards per attempt (10.7, a number first reached on Sept. 7 against Cleveland) and achieving a season-high passer rating of 150.6. And he wasn't sacked.

Even Roethlisberger's six passing TDs the following Sunday against the Ravens paled in comparison.

Sept. 28, Tampa Bay: The Steelers lost to the Buccaneers, 27-24. But WR Antonio Brown turned in another relatively typical performance (seven catches, 131 receiving yards, an 18.7 average and two touchdowns) in what became a record-setting season. Brown also threw a 17-yard pass to RB Le'Veon Bell. Brown would finish 2014 with 129 receptions, the second-most in NFL history, and with 1,598 receiving yards, the fifth-highest total in NFL history. He also had a franchise single-season record 13 receiving touchdowns.


Nov. 30, New Orleans**: Bell produced career-highs in receiving yards (159) and yards from scrimmage (254) in a 35-32 loss to the Saints. He became the third running back in team history to surpass 100 yards receiving in a game on the way to setting Steelers single-season records for catches by a running back (83) and receiving yards (854). That helped Bell join Marshall Faulk as the only running backs in NFL history with 1,350 rushing yards and 850 receiving yards in the same season.

Dec. 28, Cincinnati: TE Heath Miller had a non-descript three catches for 41 yards in the Steelers' AFC North Division-clinching, 27-17 victory over the Bengals. But the 41 yards elevated Miller past Louis Lipps (6,018) and into third place on the Steelers' all-time receiving yards list (6,034). Miller trails only Hines Ward (12,083) and John Stallworth (8,723) in franchise history. With his first catch Miller became just the 11th tight end in NFL history to amass 6.000 career receiving yards. Heeeeeeeeeeeath!

Oct. 20, Houston: Rookie WR Martavis Bryant dressed for the first time and found the end zone for the first time but neglected to save the ball from his first career touchdown reception (35 yards). Bryant wasn't concerned, he said, because there would be more touchdowns where that came from. As it turned out there would be seven more for a season total of eight, the second-highest all-time figure for a Steelers rookie. The Steelers' 30-23 victory over the Texans started Bryant on a run of six receiving touchdowns in his first four games, which set an NFL record.

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