5 NFL Facts to Know for Week 10

It's been a strange year for Julius Thomas, but he continues to score touchdowns at a rapid pace.

The Steelers offense has shown some life over the last three weeks after embarrassing losses to the Buccaneers and Browns in Weeks 4 and 6, and barely beating a helpless Jaguars team in Week 5.

Directing that offense is Ben Roethlisberger and his now-dangerous receivers, helping the team score 30, 51, and 43 points respectively.

One surprising player contributing to the Steelers offensive resurgence is rookie receiver Martavis Bryant. He has five touchdowns in the last three games, his only contests of the season. But before we get to him and other rookie receivers, let’s gush over Mr. Roethlisberger.

Big Ben Making History...Again

How do you get mentioned in a weekly article two weeks in a row? I think throwing 12 touchdowns over two games should do the trick.

Throwing for six touchdowns in one game is quite the accomplishment; doing it multiple times is even rarer, as our own Keith Goldner pointed out.

Since 1960, 25 quarterbacks have had at least 1 game with 6 or more touchdown passes. And, naturally, even fewer have seen multiple six passing touchdown games - only five other guys outside of Roethlisberger have done this. Peyton Manning has had three games of six or more touchdowns while Tom Brady, Y. A. Tittle, George Blanda and Charley Johnson all have two games with six or more touchdowns.

Despite multiple passers eclipsing the six-touchdown mark in a game, Roethlisberger is the only quarterback to accomplish the feat in back-to-back games.

Personal Contribution

What does Roethlisberger’s two games of throwing for 12 touchdowns and nearly 1,000 passing yards combined look like according to numberFire’s Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, you ask?

In Week 8, Roethlisberger contributed 33.83 Passing NEP for the Steelers. Amazingly, it was actually the second-highest mark of that week, just 1.22 points behind Brady’s performance. This past week, Roethlisberger wanted the top spot all to himself, contributing 27.18 Passing NEP. Including Roethlisberger, only eight quarterbacks have a higher overall Passing NEP than Roethlisberger's 61.01 total over the last two weeks.

Another Rookie Sensation

Antonio Brown has definitely done his part this season in the Steelers offense as Bradon Gdula points out, picking up where he left off last season. But one guy – a rookie, nonetheless – has opened up the field even more for Brown and the Steelers offense: Martavis Bryant.

Bryant was activated right before the tilt with the Texans. In his three games of play, he has five touchdowns. Only 12 other players have more than 5 touchdown receptions so far this year, and they've played a full season.

Bryant is just another rookie sensation to go with the rest of this past year’s rookie receiver class. He's one of 12 rookie receivers to have caught at least two touchdown receptions with Allen Hurns, Sammy Watkins and Kelvin Benjamin also catching five touchdowns this season.

Touchdown Reception Leaders

As I mentioned above, 12 players have scored 6 or more receiving touchdowns this year. But only one receiver has hit double-digit touchdown receptions through the first nine weeks of the season: Julius Thomas with 10.

Of the 12 players, Thomas is one of four tight ends in the top 12. Antonio Gates has nine touchdown receptions while Rob Gronkowski has eight and Dwyane Allen has seven. For reference, last year only three tight ends finished in the top 12 in touchdown receptions.

Only one running back makes the top 12 in touchdown receptions, and that is Allen’s teammate, Ahmad Bradshaw. He has nearly 300 yards receiving on the year to go with his 6 touchdowns, yet only has two rushing touchdowns so far.

Speaking of teammates, Bradshaw and Allen are one of four sets – and probably most surprising – of teammates among the touchdown leaders. Others are Packers’ receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, Broncos’ pass-catchers Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas and, lastly, the Cowboys tandem of Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams.

Yo, Arian!

With all the praise outside of quarterbacks going to receivers or DeMarco Murray this year, people seem to have forgotten Arian Foster, though Matt Goodwin reminded us last week.

With Foster catching his third receiving touchdown against the Eagles, he is currently tied with Julius Thomas for the most total touchdowns on the year so far. With Murray finally having a non-elite game and Foster amassing 115 all-purpose yards in all but one game so far this season, is there room for two to tango in Texas?