- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ben Roethlisberger became the Steelers' all-time leading passer Thursday night, surpassing Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
Bradshaw threw for 27,989 yards in 14 seasons. Roethlisberger broke the record before the halfway point of his ninth year and needed only 119 games to do so, 49 fewer than Bradshaw.
Roethlisberger set the record by converting a third down late in the third quarter. He stepped up in the pocket to complete a 17-yard pass to tight end Heath Miller to eclipse Bradshaw by 4 yards.
On what has been far from his best night to this point, Roethlisberger is still deserving of this record. While Bradshaw put up his numbers in an age where the rules made it tougher to throw the ball, Roethlisberger is the more talented quarterback. He's an accurate passer who can make all the throws and can carry his team.
Bradshaw had the luxury of throwing to two Hall of Fame wide receivers (John Stallworth and Lynn Swann). He had help from the ground game and Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris. He was protected by a good line and Hall of Fame center Mike Webster.
Roethlisberger passed the ball to Hines Ward, who might end up in the Hall of Fame, and the likes of Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, who can't be mentioned in the same breath as Stallworth and Swann. Roethlisberger handed the ball off to Jerome Bettis for a couple of seasons, but for most of his career, he's been surrounded by an average running game. And, as far as pass protection, no quarterback has been sacked more often than Roethlisberger since he entered the league.
This was a record that Roethlisberger earned.
1dJason Gibbs, Special to ESPN.com