- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Pittsburgh Steelers rank third in the NFL in time of possession (35:50) despite having the third-worst running game. The reason is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stepping up on third downs to extend drives.
Roethlisberger tops the league in passing yards (251), passing first downs (16) and QBR (99.4) on third downs after two games into the regular season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He ranks second in completion percentage (76.0) on third down and is tied for first with three passing touchdowns.
This isn't a new development with Roethlisberger. He finished third behind Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers in QBR on third downs last season (82.2). On third downs in 2011, Roethlisberger completed 62.1 percent of his passes and threw for 1,211 yards and seven touchdowns.
There is no one close to Roethlisberger in the AFC North on third downs. All the other quarterbacks in the division rank in the bottom eight in the NFL.