Ben Roethlisberger surprised reporters Tuesday when he said he wants the Steelers offense to go for two after every touchdown. Roethlisberger says why not go for two when the Steelers went 8-for-11 last season, leading the league in attempts and conversions?
So Big Ben really does want the ball. In fact, he's going to be throwing the ball on almost every conversion attempt, based on precedent.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Steelers attempted a pass on all 11 conversion tries in 2015. Roethlisberger went 8-for-10, and Landry Jones threw incomplete to Antonio Brown on his one attempt when Roethlisberger was hurt.
That's no rushing attempts, despite having one of the league's most potent short-yardage backs in 2015. DeAngelo Williams finished with a league-high 11 rushing touchdowns.
Seven Steelers receivers caught a two-point conversion pass for a score.
RB Fitz Toussaint (Week 17)
FB Will Johnson (Week 13)
TE Jesse James (Week 12)
WR Antonio Brown, two (Weeks 2 and 10)
RB DeAngelo Williams (Week 9)
Heath Miller (Week 2)
WR Markus Wheaton (Week 1)
That's quite the wealth spread. This gives playmakers incentive to get open on the two-point try, because they know they might get the ball.
It's no surprise the Steelers throw from the 2-yard line, because, as Roethlisberger says, he wants the ball in important moments. Roethlisberger submits his seven favorite short-yardage plays to coaches the night before a game. Let's assume many of those plays have receivers running routes instead of blocking for a running play.
After individual drills in practice, the first thing the Steelers do is run "seven shots" from the 2. It's a Mike Tomlin staple. Roethlisberger references it often. After nearly 20 training camp practices, that's 100-plus reps from the 2. The Steelers are comfortable from this spot.
Leaguewide, the numbers say there's a slight advantage in going for two every time, even with a 47.9-percent success rate on two-point attempts. That equates to 0.957 points per attempt, compared to 0.943 points per kicking attempt, as teams converted 94.3 percent of extra points from the 15-yard line last year (according to ESPN Stats & Information).